Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Ran the Annapolis 10M on Sunday. A nice race for hill lovers. Check this "interesting" elevation chart. (I'm just showing an excerpt since SP squeezes photos down too much otherwise. The horizontal lines were 20' apart.)
It was kinda humid too but it’s an August race. We all knew what awaited us.
A gorgeous course. Great views: the capital of Maryland, the US Naval Academy, Severn River, and lots of pretty neighborhoods. The course is always curving so no there’s no chance to get bored. Neighbors set up sprinklers to cool us off. A church showed their good spirit with signs such as “Run faster; we’re missing church for you!” and gave us orange slices and bananas as we ran by.
My only complaint: The aid stations were confusing. Some had water tables followed by gatorade and some the reverse. At other stations, there were tables serving *both* gatorade and water so it was impossible to know in advance what you were going to get. (Trying to listen to volunteers yelling what they’re holding doesn’t work very well for a lot of reasons.) I found this confusion surprising - after all, it's the 39th year of this race!
After the race, we got our bling: Pretty running jackets with zip-off sleeves. (Kudos for races that give functional bling rather than pointless medals.) We also got running hats. By tradition, at the finish, volunteers hand out ice-soaked washcloths that feel so good on your head or shoulders. They’re embroidered with the race name. I now have four and use them as guest washcloths in the bathrooms of my house! Guests to my home have never seen my medal collection, only my washcloths!
The food at the end was modest - but there was a live band, ice cream, and free beer. Can’t argue with that!
Friday, August 15, 2014
Half the fun of trail races is how much we complain about them during and afterward. But how could I complain in the presence of her: 29 weeks pregnant and running a 25K!
Afterward, she admitted only to feeling “a bit sore.” (PS: This photo was taken post-race.)
And this race certainly had its share of reasons to complain about. Early on, I was thinking “Hiking boots!” as we ascended a hill so steep that we needed to use our hands. Halfway up another steep stretch, the runner (now “hiker”) in front of me called out “We just did mile 5 in 21 min 58 seconds.” (Note: That is a very bad pace for a runner. Or walkers for that matter.)
It is de rigueur to cross streams in a trail race. Usually, I can just tiptoe across the rocks - or, at worst, splash through. Examples of both ...
Here’s a pic of one crossing that was a little more difficult than I’m used to!
And we had to scale a 7’ rock wall more suited to an obstacle course. But unlike an obstacle race, this wall was permanent, wide, and there was no circling around it. We never did find out what it was doing there. Alien landing strip perhaps.
The rest of the course was straightforward - where “straightforward” means you have to decide which parts to (wisely) not run lest you twist an ankle. What would a trail run be without plenty of roots, rocks, and “Which way?” moments. Around mile 3, we found the RD adding more flags explaining “About 20 runners ahead of you took a wrong turn here!”
But all things considered, it was a really good event. Scenery was interesting.
Aid stations were fabulous.
Post-run food was amazing - far better than anything you’d find at a commercial race. We got:
- homemade veggie burgers
- homemade mussel stew (mussels still attached to their shells!)
- homemade fruit and veggie salads
- 20 different kinds of beer. (This even included root beer on tap!)
And the RD was in no rush to kick us out. I finished in about 4 hours and the time limit was 7! So we hung out and enjoyed the music, food, and cheering other runners in.
Price was good too. I registered 2 days earlier and the fee was only $50. Besides the unlimited food and drink, we got free massages. And here is where so many races waste money: No medals and no shirts except for people who explicitly wanted to pay extra. They also offered custom shorts. That was the popular extra. (Why do so many races force yet another shirt on people?)
The RD knew his audience. As if to make this even clearer, he posted many graphs about us. Here’s one.
He even supplied pre-race food, labeled with all the Nutrition Facts we needed to know.
The official finisher premium: popsicles, handed to us as we crossed the finish line. Given this was an August race, ice pops were the best finisher premium ever!
All that stuff I said at the start? I take it back. No complaints about this race. Can’t wait to do it again next year!
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Ran 10M this afternoon. Probably not the wisest thing because the temp hit 90F by the end of my run (which ultimately involved some walking as I attempted to avoid overheating).
Curious about water loss, I weighed myself before and after. Despite consuming 24oz of gatorade, I lost 5 lbs during the run. (Had I not drank the 25oz, I would have lost 6.5 lbs! And 2/7 lb lost was from calories burned.)
I figure that instead of 24oz, I should have drank 99oz in 2 hours to remain well-hydrated.
That amounts to almost 1oz per minute (actually 5oz every 6 minutes) for 2 hours straight! I don't know how anyone can drink that much. Any advice?
If you want to try this yourself, the conversion factors are:
1 lb of water = 15.33oz
Monday, May 12, 2014
Run my 4th Harpers Ferry Half Marathon this past weekend. I'll make this a short report because I've written about it before (see link at end). I won't repeat anything except to say it's a *very* hill course. Here's a pic comparing it to the HMs of Frederick and Baltimore - check out that red line:
This year, due to illness , I was only able to eat 800 calories the day before the race. Despite this, I had a good race - actually ran faster than last year finishing just a hair over 2 hours. This reinforces my belief that eating the day (and morning) before a race is one of the least significant aspects of race prep (if you've eaten properly during the rest of your taper).
One thing I did differently was to drink a LOT of water during the race. At the start, I listened to the RD warn about hyponatremia. So of course, I was a bit worried but it was hot (70F). I figure that people suffering from hyponatremia must really be overdoing it!
I also consumed gels on the course, something I haven't been too keen on in the past. Last year, I only had 1 gel. This year, I had a "Double Latte" at mile 6 and another at 11. I already knew that PowerBar gels taste horrible so I slammed them down as quickly as possible. Still not sure if it was the sugar or the caffeine but I finished strong.
Despite what I just said, I did take a brief walk break during a giant hill at 12 and another at 12.9 that's incredibly steep. It's a bit frustrating to walk so close to the end. But these hills are killer when you're so close to exhausted and I had walked them every year. In fairness, I must explain that *everyone* around me walked these same sections, too. I was not passed.
Also dumped a cup of water on my head and shirt. (Hope the aid station volunteers found that amusing.) Had never done that before but it was soooo hot.
My race report from last year:
Sunday, March 23, 2014
This is my kind of deal: In lovely Rockville, Maryland, an 8K for only $20. Includes t-shirt and, at the finish, free beer and all the food you can eat, live band, dancing, and a 50' high cool-down spray courtesy of the local fire dept.
8K is a nice distance for people who've done 5Ks and want to try something a bit longer.
To get this deal, you just have to register anytime on Sunday, March 23. At midnight, it goes to the regular price of $34 (which is still a darn good price but $20 is amazing).
What's the downside? Two:
1) The race is in July (kinda hot). But they have lots water stops (4!) and sprayers on the course. Check out these architectural water stop masterpieces:
2) Not the most scenic race. But it doesn't matter because it starts at twilight so you're not going to be looking around much anyway cause it will be dark! Some finish-in-the-dark photos:
For more info: rockvilletwilighter.org/
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