Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston Strong & Other Stuff

I can't post today and not at least mention the events that took place one year ago. 

Simply put my thoughts are with all those that were there (injured or not, present when the bombs went off or not...it's still a footnote to the marathon experience regardless of finishing/not finishing etc), with all those (runners, volunteers, spectators, anyone in Boston that day) that are recovering from physical/mental/emotional injuries, and with the families that lost loved ones. 

It's what I'll be thinking about during my run this evening.

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Just a note - I changes the name of my Instagram account so that it ties in with the blog, and takes my personal name off the account.  The old link won't work, but all the old pictures are there since it's the same account, just with a new name.  You can follow brokentequila (me!) on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/brokentequila the link is also to the Right.

I have been reading so many blogger safety posts lately and #1 tip is that all the social media accounts tied to the blog should be the blog name, not your personal name, so I decided to make the change.

P.S. - No I have not had any issues/scares...just following sound advice.

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Over the weekend Michelle and I had the pleasure of staying at the Fort Casey Inn on Whidbey Island.  Originally built as officer housing prior to the Civil War (according to the plaque in our cabin) or the First World War (according to the website), so I don't know which it is, but leaning towards the Civil War based on the decor etc.  Regardless is was the most cost effective lodging we could find on the Island that was close to the start/finish line. 

I had no idea what we were in store for since the confirmation email made it clear it was pretty basic with power, but no other outside contact (TV, Radio, WiFi).  Sounded great to me because I love nothing more than a good book for hours on end, but turns out they have upgraded a bit and there was WiFi, and the alarm clocks in the rooms had AM/FM. 

It was all pretty basic, but fully functioning with electric heat, microwave in the kitchen along with all the other "normal" kitchen stuff.  And the view was amazing! 

The sunrise from Michelle's room.  Photo Credit - Michelle

 The main room...we ended up doing a puzzle on the floor with the fire going.  Photo Credit - Michelle

 My room...the bed's were really firm!

 Love the claw-foot bathtub...we didn't use it, but it was still a cool feature. 

Michelle's Room.

Aside from the firm beds and really old plumbing (lets be honest it could hardly handle two runners pre-race) it was a charming and very quiet place to stay.  It would actually be fun to go back with the families and make use of the hiking trails, and bring our discovery passes along so we can explore the parks near the Inn.  I would totally stay there again!  

A few more non-race pics from the weekend...

 I thought it was funny my GPS had the car driving on the water.

 Liquid carb loading at lunch the day before.  First time I have every had a drink (had a glass of wine with dinner later that night as well, along with lot's of water all day long) the day before a race, and you know what I couldn't tell a difference.

 We visited the start line the day before to scope out parking and make sure we knew where to go.   Nice little beach next to the festivities.

 This was a random little park we found and it ended up being a nice little spot to spread a blanket and read for a while before heading off to dinner.  Very relaxing! 

 Enjoying the sun, breeze and views!  Photo Credit - Michelle
I have to say I feel pretty great today!  I usually don't run with the group Tuesday Night after running a half, but I am tonight, because I feel that good, and like I'm ready to run again.  If this is what 39 feels like then I'm going to have a very good year!  ;-)

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Anyone else drink beer, wine, other alcohol before a race?  

I usually don't drink any alcohol 5 to 7 days leading up to a race, but I didn't do that this time around.  I had wine with dinners during the week and the beer and wine the day before.  But, I also made an effort to drink a ton of water too.  I felt the best I ever have for a race this time around, so who knows if drinking or not makes a huge difference.  There are a lot of other factors that go into how you feel race day.   

 




Monday, April 14, 2014

Whidbey Island Half Re-Cap

Let's get the details out of the way...we did it!  Finished in 2:23:xx which was faster than I anticipated.  Not the fastest Half Michelle and I have run together, but not the slowest either. 

Pre-Race...killing time before the start.  Half Fanatics in the house!!!!!  (runners have the best legs...yep just gave myself and Michelle props)!

Michelle got it together for this race with only 3 weeks notice, and very little mileage on her legs.  I know miles 10 - 13.34 (it's a long course!) were challenging, but she stuck with it and got it done.  I tell you those last miles were the hardest as far as the course goes.  Hills, out and back, running past the finish line and hearing finishers being announced as you run past...yep it was hard, really hard. 

While I had the advantage of 10 weeks of training, and felt pretty great physically (mentally was not loving running past the finish for an out and back)...I knew it was getting harder and harder for Michelle, but she hung in there and got it done.  I'm so proud of her, total gut check time and she did it!  I don't say (type) that with surprise at all...I knew she could do it, but I knew it would be hard so I'm extra, extra proud of her!  

I almost don't even know how to review this one because it was such a great experience.  Fair warning this Half, with perfect weather (and maybe even without perfect weather), is going to make you want to run a full.  Just be ready to come home and register for a full marathon after this!  (And, no I did not register for a full, nor do I plan on doing so...that hasn't changed for me).

The Pros:
-The Weather - So I know this was totally a chance thing, the organizers have zero control over the weather.  I suspect that had this been a windy/rainy day it would have been much less pleasant and a very, very different experience for us.  It was sunny, but no too hot.  I actually had a long sleeve shirt on before the start to keep warm, but ditched it right before we crossed the timing mat.  Michelle didn't, and while she had goose bumps she wasn't too cold as long as we stayed in the sun.  There were a few times it felt like the sun was beating down on us due to the lack of shade, but just as it would start to border on too much we would hit a wooded section and have shade to cool things off. 

-Bathrooms - There were the park bathrooms as well as plenty of port o potties.  We waited in lines of 3 to 4 people tops which is pretty good in my book!

-Aid Stations - Perfectly spaced!  Not only did they start early (mile 2...the advantage of there being a 5K and 10K) they were spaced about every 3 miles after that.  The two stations that offered GU were perfectly spaced, and the last aid station that offered GU was the out and back section, so you hit it going and coming back which was really nice. 

-Packet Pick-Up/Expo - Very well organized.  Big enough to be interesting, but not so large that it was overwhelming (that's what she said...bahahaha...sorry Mark has totally warped my sense of humor!).  We were in and out super easy.  Didn't even have to wait in line to get our packets/shirts.  

-Communication - It was amazing.  There were several (but not too many) emails the weeks leading up to the race, with all the information/details I wanted, needed, and felt anxious about.  This was easily the calmest I felt going into a race because everything was spelled out clearly.  Being an out of towner, since it's an island I'm guessing most of the runners are out of town, the organizers addressed all the unknowns for those that were traveling, and that really helped me feel like we were in good hands.  

 Running this stretch I totally mentally checked out.  It was long and straight (the kind of running I don't like at all) but the view totally sucked me in and made it fly by.

-Route- Well what can I say about this.  It was amazing!  From the vibrant green farm lands/fields to the ocean views, and the mountain peaks it was simple breathtaking.  The views made up for the complaints I have.   More importantly the views made it seem almost easy.  I enjoyed (almost) every step because it was so beautiful. 

 The above view is what is behind us in the below in-race selfie.   Selfie Photo Credit - Michelle!

About half way give or take a mile or two...I forget exactly.

-Shirts/Medals/Goodie Bag - So I don't have a pic of the tech shirt, but it's bad a$$!  I love the shirt, but sadly it looks horrific on me, so I gave mine to Michelle.  Why don't they ever run true to size (or look good on girls with bigger chests?)  Anyway, the medals are awesome (too lazy to take a close up) totally fitting it had a Bald Eagle on it since we saw them every time we looked up!  I love that the goodie bags had full size product in them, very well done!

Cons:
-The Roads - They were totally slanted.  Every single one of them were very slanted and it was really hard to find anything somewhat flat to run on.  The first 10 miles were slanted (for the most part) to the left and let me tell you my knee and hip were feeling it.  We both kept swerving around trying to find anything flatish to run on.  There was one trail through a park that was flat and a gravel path that was flat, but that maybe made 1 mile total of flat running. The last 3+ miles were slanted to the right, which was a bit of relief but by that point still not helpful. 

-It's over 13.1 - In fact the website says it's 13.34, but if you run a perfect tangent it's 13.1.  Umm...the only runners that have a chance of running a perfect tangent are the leaders.  The rest of us are left running what is a very long Half!  

-The Last 3 miles - They are already the hardest part of a Half right?  So why, why, why make us run past the finish line, hearing all the celebration etc to head out on an absolutely miserable out and back?  It's the hilliest part of the course and just felt like it took forever.  It's a mental game at that point...every step out you know you have to repeat...but adding in the hills was just rough.  (Overall still one of the "easiest" courses I've run though...so it's all relative).  

 Still amazing views the last 3 miles!

-Food Tent - Seriously the line to get in to the food tent was stupid long.  So long in fact that even though I needed food we skipped it and opted to get on the ferry and eat on the mainland.  There has to be a better way to handle that aspect.

-Full Marathon Leaders - This is more a complaint on their behalf because it didn't have a negative impact on me at all.  But, I will say at the point (based on when they start and when the Half starts and average pace of winners etc) that the leaders catch us is tight.  I know the organizers have no control over what pace anyone runs, but there are some serious pinch points, and some stretches of what should be single track (just like girls who can't pee alone some can't run alone either...for the record Michelle and I run single file when we need to/when the course calls for it), the leaders were struggling to weave in and out (the motorcycle leading the full should have been in front of the leader honking, not behind him!) and barking at runners, most of who have both earphones in, that they were trying to pass.  The leaders caught us at their mile 23, so I'm guessing having to yell at people to move over was energy they would rather have not had to exert.  The only upside is it was really inspiring/exciting to see them fly by, those guys were hauling some serious a$$!

We did it!

All in all I would highly, highly recommend this race!  If you ever have a chance to run Whidbey Island Half do it (can't speak to the full, but have heard it's bad a$$ in a good way as well)!  I would/will totally do it again!  Despite the few cons it's still a very unique experience that is totally worth it, and one of the most enjoyable courses to run (even though it's long)!    

Nicely done Whidbey Island! 

I'll share more in the next day or two about lodging/experience on the island and how I felt/am feeling post race.  For now this post is long enough and I'm still pretty worn out despite 10 hours of sleep last night.  

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Who else had a race/run this weekend?  Tel me about it! 

 

 


 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ready to Run!

I finally feel ready for Sunday's race.  I'm packed, my throat is still sore but not getting worse, and my shoulder and hip are pain free!  Woo Hoo!  

A big Thank You to my Dad for driving 4'ish hours to work on my shoulder and hip and then turning around and driving 4'ish hours back home. 

He did get a little play time in with Sky before making the drive back home.

So I'm doing a few things different this race...I'm running naked and I'm taking pictures!  By naked I mean no GPS watch.  Totally going to run based on feel and how many irresistible photo ops there are along the way.  

It's all part of the plan to run for fun, enjoy the weather and the island, and make sure Michelle has fun as well.  She's coming into this with 3 weeks of prep and a bit of a sore back, so I'm ditching the watch (and in turn the obsession with pace/numbers) and plan to kill my phone battery taking pics!  I know that "real" runners look down on the photo taking runners, but I don't give a crap what anyone thinks.  We will make sure to step out of the way so we don't slow anyone down or trip anyone.   

I'm really looking forward to running in a new area and this is our first as Half Fanatics!  It's going to be fun, and a great way to kick off the summer run schedule!

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Anyone else run/race naked?
No, I don't remember the last time I did that.  I have mixed feeling about it which is probably why I should do it more.   It's not always about the numbers.

In race photo taking yes or no?
I don't care one way or the other.  This is the first race I've gone into with the intent to take pics.  Usually I have a goal of some sort that does not lend itself to photos.  I'm kinda looking forward to it though! 



 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday!

Oh my goodness what a busy couple of days!  Yesterday got turned upside down with Sky being sick.  She has a raging little cold going on.  Better today than yesterday, but still she is not comfortable at all. 

Which means tons and tons of cuddling, and no visit with the grandparents yesterday.  Thankfully I didn't have anything scheduled for the afternoon so we did nothing but this...

Cuddling in the rocking chair (btw that chair is from my sister and I being babies, we just brought it in from storage in the garage).  

I was once again so very thankful for the jogging stroller!  Since it can be fully enclosed when needed I just stick her in it with some of her favorite things and close it up so no one is exposed to her germs, and she is cozy and happy.  And, that allowed me to get my last run in before race day!  

Sadly I think Sky shared her cold with me, so nice of her.  It's ok...I'm going to run, have fun, and finish no matter what.  Gargling salt water, and drinking tons of water with oranges squeezed into it in the hopes my sore throat will die down by Sunday.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

A few things I'm thankful for: 

-That Sky took a nap yesterday afternoon.  I was a little surprised since her nose is so plugged she can't breath and therefor doesn't really want to lay down.  But, it allowed me to deal with an ingrown toenail...didn't really want to run 13.1 with that...and it feels so much better today!  It gave me time to do my nails too...

 I love this fun design! 

-That even though she's sick we made it through grocery shopping with zero issues, and was very chipper through an oil change and car wash.  

Those glasses are too much, and she is too cute!  She kept waiving a the oil change guys.

-This may seem like a strange thing to be thankful for...
...but we needed that rock to finish Bishop's new kennel area.  And, thanks to Bob, Josh and Rick for coming over and helping Mark transport it to the kennel and spread it out, because that means Bishop comes home tomorrow!!!!  Sky is going to be so excited!  

-Dad is making a day trip tomorrow, across the state, so he can work on the shoulder and hip that have been hurting.  I can keep it in check on my own, but he can fix it for good.  So looking forward to being pain free at the start line! 

-That even when she's sick she is still so full of fun and life and smiles.  

 Her new perch for watching movies.

-Sun, very thankful for the lovely sunny days we are having.  And, that it's supposed to last through Sunday.  Warm, but not too warm = perfect!  

-That tomorrow is Taco night!  
What are you thankful for?


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tapering Sky Style

The amazing, and yes sometimes frustrating thing, about being a parent is adjusting your personal agenda.

I was all set for run group tonight, but the nice weather early in the day and Sky asking for a "no stroller run" made it easy for me to make a quick adjustment (I didn't bail on Michelle...she couldn't make run group tonight...so it really did work out perfectly).  Thankfully I'm tapering so I was able to make this adjustment without having to add a "real" run later in the week.  For the record if I was in the middle of training or training for a PR/specific goal then I wouldn't be as quick to bail on my plans (and I wouldn't bail on a running partner) and do what Sky wants.

But, when I can let things go her way I'm always happy with the results!  We got in 3.1, I know this because the loop we ran/walked was a regular training loop for me, most of it at a Sky paced trot.  We had a few photo opp stops and Sky distraction stops, but her little legs still carried her 3.1 miles all by themselves, without a single hint of complaint/being tired.

I obviously took some liberty with the photo editing abilities of the A Beautiful Mess app on my phone, and did some additional/initial editing in Google+...that accounts for the color difference from pic to pic.

 My favorite trail at Ft. Steilacoom Park!
 I can count the number of times on one hand (and not use all my fingers) that she has asked to hold my hand on a walk.  My heart was melting.
 There are some pretty bad a$$ graffiti artists that frequent the park/ruins form the old mental hospital.
 I think this is an odd spot for and innocent child's bench, but next family photo shoot we do with our photographer we are making use of it!
 What I heard over and over today..."Run with me Mommy, run with me", "Come on, we can do it", "No hands in pockets Mommy, run" and when we got back to the car, "we did it, we did it"!  


This is by far my fave picture from the day.  She has a hard time with the whistling/spitting/blowing thing, so this process took a very long time.  She would try to blow and blow and nothing would happen, but she would pause and flash the biggest smile my way.  Then she figured out she could hold the flower in the air while running and watch the floating things take off in the air.

While today didn't go according to my plan, it do according to the plan and that is good enough for me!

Back at it tomorrow though...stroller group run, and then I'm done until race day!












  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Birthday Weekend Getaway

Good Monday morning to you!  I hope your week is off to an awesome start!

I'm still playing catchup from being gone over the weekend.  Laundry, laundry, laundry...weekend trips make it so much worse, but totally worth it! 

Speaking of the weekend I hope everyone had a great one! 

I got to start my weekend my favorite way...with an 8 mile run.


You can't really see it, but the Olympics are in the background, and they looked so pretty that we had to stop and get a pic.  Once the run was done, the fun began.  We purposely wanted to have the last "long" run before race day done before heading to OR.  That way we can eat and drink a bit more relaxed and not worry about how it will impact running.

The rest of the weekend was spent in Manzanita and Cannon Beach.  While the weather was on and off wind and rain, more on than off, we still had a great time and even got some beach time in! 

 If you find yourself in Cannon Beach you must stop at Bill's!  The beer was great and they had good gluten free options for Mark! 

 Can't drive through Astoria without seeing the Goonies house.  Sky has no idea why we stopped, she was just happy to hang out with the girls.  Photo credit - Michelle

Playing on the beach and the view fro the living room of the cabin.  It was so nice to be able to walk to and from the beach...no sand in the car! 
 

Singing about applesauce, Sky is really passionate about applesauce I guess.  Photo credit - Mark.

Enjoying the wind in her face!

 Kiera and Sky watched a lot of movies while waiting out the rain!

 Our room which also had a twin bed in it for Sky.
 My two favorite people!

Now it's back to real life, and getting ready to run Whidbey Island Half.  Lot's of hydration this week, paying attention to what I eat so my tummy is happy at the start line, and taking it easy on the last two runs this week. 

Looking forward to getting the first half of the year under my belt, and start getting ready for my first relay race!

Happy Monday!