Friday, June 28, 2013

Race Recap: 2013 Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon

I think Rock and Roll lost my photos :(...all my friends have their photos up and I don't and I don't want to wait any longer to post my recap so here it is without stolen pics with the word PROOF across them!

Ah man, this race was just pure awesomeness! It marked the 5th year since I started running half marathons and the 5th anniversary of the Seattle Rock and Roll race.  Quick trip down memory lane before we start...
Pre 2008 race - man I was SOO nervous!
2008 Seafair Half Marathon (became Rock and Roll in 2009) - my first half in a time of 2:35:xx!
2009 Inaugural Rock and Roll Seattle Half - 2:18:xx
2010 - 2:11:xx
2011 - 2:03:53
2012 - 2:02:13
2013 - 2:02:10 <--- race PR by 3 SECONDS!

Let's dive into this year's race ok?

Per usual I didn't sleep too well the night before and when I did I only dreamt about waking up late or missing the start.  Alarm went off around 4:30 and I made my pre-race breakfast and had a half a cup of coffee.
Already half eaten eggs and potatoes! Not picture - Nuun and coffee.

I wasn't going to leave anything to chance so I left insanely early about 5:30 to head to the start.  That proved to be a good idea because I scored a FREE street spot in lower Queen Anne and made my way to the VIP area to relax and get my pre-race business done (you all know what I mean).  Thanks to access to no line potties I did everything I wanted to (or thought...) and made my way to my corral to meet up with blogger friends.

pic from Stacie!
Nuun ladies! Myself, Stacie and Zoe

My running buddy and fellow 5 year runner, Lindsey, and I got in corral 7 and waited for the race to start.  My stomach decided it wanted to rebel one last time about 2 minutes before the gun went off...awesome! I vented my frustration to Lindsey who just said "don't think about it"...not so easy to do I might add!

All corraled up and ready to run

Miles 1-3

Starting in corral 7 with my speedy friend was probably not the best idea because we started ticking off 8:30 miles right away.  My stomach was still unsettled and I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with her so I made the very smart decision to tell her to go ahead and stopped at a port-o-potty right before the 5k mark.  BEST.DECISION.EVER. I felt like a million bucks after and found my own rhythm right around the 9:20 pace. Coincidentally this exact same thing happened last year except I waited until mile 6 for relief.

Miles 3-9

We made our way south on Rainier Avenue which is not what I could call Seattle's finest neighborhood but luckily you turn off of it eventually and make your way to Lake Washington Blvd and run north along the lake towards I-90.  I was feeling strong and ticking off the miles staying in the 9:20 range the entire time.  I ate some Sports Beans around mile 7 and made sure to take water and Gatorade at every stop. While I would LOVE LOVE if Nuun was on the course I didn't want to carry my own hydration so I "suffered" with the Gatorade for this race ;).

Side note: I swore someone spectating yelled my name in the stretch on Rainier but I looked and didn't recognize anyone...was it any of you?

Miles 9-12

Into the I-90 tunnels we went and every year I honestly hate this part of the race. It's stuffy, it smelled like sewage and they had a DJ at the end bumping music so loud you could feel it in your bones...NOT in a good way.  I knew once we exited I would be greeted with fresh, cooler air and it felt so glorious! The sun was out in full force that day but I was comfortable in my Nuun singlet and shorts...should have worn a visor or sunglasses though.

The best cheer squad EVER was right at the corner after mile 10 and even though I only saw them for a split second it made all the difference and powered me though those last miles.

Photos from Sarah - thanks ladies!!!
Megan, Andrea, Sarah, Lauren, Rira, and Rebecca!

See...look how happy I am to see them!
Miles 12-13.1 (well according to my Garmin 13.5!)

My legs were definitely tired and I was ready for the race to be over with but I still felt pretty good so I tried to pick up the pace a bit towards the end.  I have to say Rock and Roll made some excellent changes to the course this year but one thing they forgot...ending a hill! But this year they made the hill longer so I would guess the last 1/4-1/2 mile were pretty much all uphill.  When I spotted the finish line I broke into my best sprint possible and finished strong.

2 hours, 2 minutes and 10 seconds <---can't help but think I would have gotten under 2 hours without that bathroom stop...darnit!

I could not chug a bottle of water, gatorade, and chocolate milk fast enough! I met up with my friend and fellow Ragnar teammate, Jessey, for some race debriefing.

Great lighting in this finish pic ;)

Post race I headed back to the VIP area to cool down in the shade and change out of my sweaty clothes before heading to the Online Shoes blogger party (recap next!).

Again thanks to Online Shoes and Brooks for the amazing experience and as always Nuun hydration for the extra water stop and all my pre and post race hydration needs.  The Nuun singlet was awesome for this race, no chafing and stayed relatively cool for the whole race...I am a fan!

Question: Do you love Rock and Roll races? Did you run Seattle? Link up you recap below please!

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Never Want To Be Normal Again - VIP Rock and Roll Seattle

Seriously, I was spoiled so so rotten this weekend I'm pretty certain I can never run a race again as a mere "normal" person again.  Full recap of the race and blogger event coming after I can steal photos from the race and fully digest what fun I had this past weekend...but I just have to gush about the VIP experience real quick.

Ballin! Too bad my nails weren't very VIP looking :)

Online Shoes and Brooks were generous enough to offer me an entry to the race and what I thought was access to the VIP potties Brooks has at the start line.  Well after I did my whole registration thing at the Expo I went to find the Brooks rep to get my VIP stuff.  That was when I realized, no I didn't get access to those potties, but rather access to the VIP hospitality know where the elites hang out, no big deal.

Again, THANKS Online Shoes and Brooks!

Race morning, I slapped on my VIP bracelet and made my way to the tent area.  I honestly felt super out of place and didn't know anyone but I did enjoy potties with NO lines that actually smelled nice, a handful of grapes and VIP bag check.  I met another "normal" person who was running her first half marathon with her nephew so I didn't feel too out of place for long.  Having a bag check and potty with only about 30 other people versus 20,000 was pretty much the best thing ever!

AND THEN...after the race (spoiler: I finished!) you can go back to the tent for treats, sandwiches, and an open bar. Since I didn't know anyone I felt slightly odd hanging out alone but I took advantage of the shade and tables and relaxed a little, ate a couple cookies and get ready for the Online Shoes/Brooks after party. We also had a pretty sweet view of the concert area.

Not that I would ever complain about being offered this amazing experience but one year it would awesome to do with a friend so we could literally hang out there for hours after the race enjoying the food, booze, and music.  I have no clue if you can buy your way into the VIP area but I would be curious to know how much it cost.

Next up: Race Recap, Blogger Event, Brooks Shoes Reviews...I feel like such an official blogger telling you what is coming up next ;)

QUESTION: Have you ever been VIP at a race? Was it the best thing ever?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Rock and Roll Seattle Prep - Weather and More!

First off HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Brooks and Online Shoes for providing me a free entry to the Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon.  I'm still pinching myself for this opportunity because I'm not a big blogger or fast runner, but I do have loads of gratitude so they'll have to be happy with that!
Did you know their corporate office is in Seattle? YEP!
Another local company headquartered in Bothell!

I have to admit I was feeling a little sad I wasn't running this race about a month ago since I've run it from the beginning, but not sad enough to shell out $130 bucks to do it ;).  Two of my original running buddies are also running this for the 5th time!  The 2008 Seafair Half Marathon (which Rock and Roll replaced) was also my very first half and 5 years later I will be running my 11th on Saturday.

Katie and Lindsey to the right of me - 5 years of running together ladies!
I might attempt to run with Lindsey but she is a speedy little demon so I'm not sure how long I can keep that up.  Although I've put the distance in since I'm training for Ragnar I'm nowhere near the speed I had when I ran a sub 2 half, but you never know. Much like Katie convinced me to run a half 5 years ago, she convinced her boyfriend to run his 1st on Saturday.


Providing you an accurate weather report is about the only connection I can make with my career and running so...straight from the most accurate source for weather...,NOAA, I present you with the race day forecast as of Thursday:
  • Unlike last year's tricky rain forecast (which NOAA accurately predicted FYI), this year there is virtually no chance of rain before the early evening! There will be some light cloud cover but still don't forget to wear your sunscreen.
  • Chance of rain - NO chance before 5PM...woohoo!
  • Temps from 7-NOON will be starting in the upper 50's and shouldn't reach more than 65 by the time most of you finish.
  • Temp (in red) from 7AM-3PM. Relative humidity in green if you are into that sort of thing.
  • Super super light winds, so don't count a draft to pull you along ;)
OVERALL - Absolutely perfect running conditions in my opinion.  Now you can all go plan your race day outfits confidently!  I'll be wearing shorts and my Nuun singlet!


RUNNERS: Let's meetup for a pic before the race ok? If you are running or spectating near the start line come to Corral 7 around 6:40 and we'll snap a few pre-race pics.

2012 RnR Seattle meetup photo

CHEERERS: Not running but want to cheer? Nuun headquarters is on the course and they are setting up there own little hydration station (note: they are not the official hydration sponsor of Rock and Roll...but they should be!).  Head out to 800 Maynard Avenue and get your cheer on!

QUESTION: Who will I see on the course or cheering? Anyone planning on running around a 9:30 pace and want to keep me company for 13.1 miles?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Things Friday - Running Motivation Overload

Oh man has my week been FULL of everything running, including a little bit of actual running...imagine that!  Let's take a look back shall we? I apologize for the lack of photos...I was bad photo taker this week plus my phone is playing some dirty tricks on me and it takes a photo but then doesn't save it!

1. Ragnar Meeting - The whole crazy ultra gang got together and Veggie Grill this week to meet and chat about all things running.  Every one of the ladies running is super motivational and everyone has an equally inspiring running story to tell.  I'm getting super excited to spend 24+ hours in a van with all the awesomeness!  And drum roll please...our team name is:

Six Pack With a Rack

Hehe, what do you think?  Get it...we are six runners and we have a boobs ;)

2. Spirit of the Marathon 2 Movie Premier! - I met up with one of my running/blogging buddies Sarah (who just started training for the Chicago marathon!) and we had a great time talking all things running over Chipotle for dinner before heading over to watch the movie.

HANDS DOWN the most inspirational movie I have ever seen.  This is WAY better than the first one and follows multiple people from many countries as they train for and run the 2012 Rome Marathon. I don't want to give any of it away because you NEED to see it.  I dare even a non-runner to go watch this movie and try not to sign up for a marathon the very next day :).  
3. Pint Striders - Fleet Feet Seattle puts on a fun run plus beer drinking event once a month and this year I met up with some girlfriends for the jaunt.  The run was pretty hilly seeing as we ran around Capitol Hill and I ran with some speedy friends so it was a great workout!

4. Nuun Mixology - As if you need anymore excuses to drink Nuun, Triathlete Magazine featured Nuun and some amazing sounding cocktails, desserts drinks and flavor combos to try.

Go to Nuun's facebook for a better version you can actually read or just go buy the latest Triathlete magazine

5. Pro Compression Socks - I will be the first to admit I always thought people running in knee high socks looked ridiculous, but people "claimed" they did wonders for their calves and feet during and after runs so I figured I better give them a shot. I wore them on the 3.5 mile jaunt around Capitol Hill and I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference. I think I need to test them out after a long run to hopefully full experience what they claim to do. But I do think they make me look like a more serious runner so there is that ;)

Pretty sure neon anything makes you run faster?
PHEW, what a week! Hope yours was filled with good runs, running memories, and running motivation!

QUESTION: What as your run motivation this week?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Runnin' - Hoping to Have a Blast

The song in my head right now is Summer Lovin' from Grease, hence the title of this post! We have been having AMAZING weather here in the Pacific Northwest (knock on wood x1000) and the June Gloom is no where to be far. This is doing wonders for my running which I actually enjoy when the weather is just about perfect.

I'm not sure I've updated my blog peeps on my summer running schedule have I?  What started out as a maybe I'll run Ragnar this year has turned into a summer FULL of races and relays and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm just hoping my motivation to run lasts me through this stretch ;).

In Ragnar Ultra training news I did my first sort of back to back long run this weekend, as evidenced by Instagram and my Garmin.

The 6 miles on Saturday was also after standing on my feet for 6 hours straight at a science expo which started the development of a teeny tiny blister on my pinky toe. Add 12 miles on Sunday and that blister was FULL blown at the end.  But on the positive side, the 12 miles felt pretty good and I think I could have pulled off a few more miles if I had to.  I woke up this morning with some tightness in my legs and they are a little tired but nothing major...Ragnar Ultra training WIN!

So, yeah back to my summer running is what is on docket, please join me where you can!

June 22 - Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon - technically I'm not registered for this yet but Online Shoes and Brooks offered me a free VIP entry...NO CLUE how I got hooked up with that but I feel kind of badass now ;)

serious blogger action at the 2012 RnR Seattle start line!
July 14 - See Jane Run Half Marathon - I found out I was chosen as an ambassador for See Jane Run like a month ago so this race suddenly found it's way onto my calendar.  I'm excited to run on the very familiar to me turf of Lake Union and be inspired by all the ladies around me.  There is a chance I might have a race entry to giveaway so stay tuned but in the meantime you can use discount code SJRSEAAMB13 for 10% off.

July 19-20 - Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - I'm sure I'll be boring you with many many details about this over the next month, but if you are on the fence about registering a team the deadline is TODAY, so get on that!

2011 Ragnar Relay team
August 18 - Lake Union 10K - I ran this last year with some #NUUNKOTB friends and it is an easy course with huge potential for a PR.  PLUS, it benefits Girls on the Run Puget Sound, it's a no brainer!

Megan, Stacie, Meghan before 10K
September 27-28 - Ragnar Relay Adirondacks with NUUN! My favorite hydration company partnered up with my favorite relay company and voila...a match made in heaven.  Since I'm lucky enough to be a Nuun ambassador I get the chance to run in a relay with them this year. I'm excited to meet some East Coast Nuun lovers and run in the state I was born in.

PHEW, I'm going to be tired after this summer!

Question: What race are you most looking forward to this summer? Am I missing any super awesome races I NEED to sign up for?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day - A Trip Down Memory Lane

Unless you live under a great big black rock and never look at twitter, blogs, facebook, is National Running Day. AND, there is one thing I won't be doing today...running :).

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of celebrating such a healthy activity on a national level but I don't feel the need to go running today, plus my legs are super tired from my weekend activities and running 10 total miles yesterday...oopsie.

I'm a runner so I already run on a regular basis, but I do think that this day is the perfect excuse for those who are just thinking about starting to run or maybe those who have fallen off the running wagon to lace up those shoes and get out there again!

I don't really have a point to this post other than to post some of my all time favorite running memories in picture form...really for my own enjoyment.

Photo timeline of my running history here we go:

How it all began, 2008 Seafair 1/2 marathon with my original running ladies!
Traveling to run became a fun activity! 2010 Big Sur half mary!
Discovered the awesomeness of relays starting in 2009 with Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Then I got crazy and finally ran a marathon - 2011 Chicago Marathon!
The start of making some awesome new blog friends - 2012 Mt. Si Relay
Meeting awesome local companies and more bloggers! 2012 Ragnar with Nuun!
10th half mary completed in Sedona!
2013 Nuun Ambassador!
Of course this doesn't even really cover all the awesome things running, this blog, and meeting so many new people has provided me over the past 5 years, but I'm sure you don't all want to scroll through hundreds of photos like I do right ;).

I hope you all enjoy National Running Day however you please...running, biking, swimming, walking or enjoying a probably well deserved rest day like myself!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Call Me HikingLar From Now On

I'm changing my blog name to hikinglar :).  Not really, but I've been doing a hell of a lot more hiking lately than marathon running/training/anything marathon related.

I've honestly never been one to really enjoy hiking/camping/anything in the woods. Don't get me wrong I LOVE the outdoors and enjoying all aspects of it, but was just never a real mountain girl.  I don't mind a little car camping or day hiking every now and then but don't ask me to go on a multi-night camping/hiking adventure where I don't have access to a toilet and hot thank you!

With that disclaimer in mind, I have REALLY been enjoying some recent day hikes around the Pacific Northwest.  It only took me about 8 years of living here to finally realize what amazing hikes we have within driving distance from Seattle!

A couple very recent hikes I went on were:

1. Mt. Si - 8.0 miles roundtrip with 3000' elevation gain
Mt. Si in the background (snowy peak on right is the top of the hike)
I've always heard of this hike from others as a good challenging walk up a mountain in North Bend and have always wanted to see if I was in good enough shape to make it up without much trouble.  My friend Jessey and I headed out memorial day weekend to try it out.  Shockingly, it wasn't that crowded (I think everyone went to Eastern Washington) and we got on the trail a little after 9 AM.  You climb over 3000' feet in just under 4 miles and the trail NEVER flattens out.  It is the most steady uphill hike I've ever been on.  I didn't find it super challenging but we definitely stopped for some hydration breaks along the way. The path up was nice and groomed and flat!

We reached the summit in about 2 hours and enjoyed some snacks before powering down. The views were amazing but there were a lot of clouds so I'm sure on a super clear day it would be 10x better.

Top of Mt. Si with Jessey

SHOE NOTE: I finally made it to the Brooks outlet in Bothell the day before this hike and scored these Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes for 50 bucks! WHAT a difference they made versus hiking in my regular running shoes...shocking information I know ;).

But you know what was challenging? Descending 3000+ feet.  While it wasn't heart pounding it was quad and knee pounding.  The stead incline meant a stead decline so there was no relief from the quad pounding, joint wrenching until you reached your car.  Jessey and I felt like such old ladies complaining about all our pains on the way down, but surprisingly enough the only thing that was sore the next day was my calves!  I would most definitely do this hike again and would be interested to if it hurt any less if I do more hikes this summer and try it again.

The very next weekend...

2. Lake Serene - 7.2 miles roundtrip - 2000' elevation gain

My friend Rachel and I decided on this hike after a recommendation from my co-worker. The drive out on Highway 2 was a little longer than I would have hoped for (due to an 25mph tractor trailer that wouldn't move over!), but it was nice to feel a little more "out in the middle of nowhere" compared to Mt. Si.  Stacey joined us for this hike and she proved very capable and I promised her I wouldn't leave her home ever again if I went for a hike!
at some rock waterfalls before going UP!
The path starts out pretty mild climbing a little but mostly flat and wide.  All the mountain snow is melting right now which made for some awesome waterfalls and countless small streams to meander around.  At about 2 miles in the path takes on a pretty steep ascent and I would imagine that most of those 2000' are gained in the last 1.5+ miles. The terrain turns to mostly large rocks and lots and lots of wooden stairs! There were a few spots that were a tad challenging to get around and mostly I was just worried Stacey would fall off a cliff (my biggest hiking fear), but she did great and I learned quickly that letting her go off leash was safer for the both of us (even if it was against the rules).

one of MANY sets of stairs

When you reach the top you go around the corner and BAM...snow and a very chilly lake environment.  There was still fog up there so we could just barely make out the lake. As we ate our lunch the fog lifted and it was like watching a curtain being lifted and you have no idea what lies behind it.  The lake, the ice, the sheer rock walls were breathtaking.  My pictures do absolutely NO justice to how beautiful it was.

Lake Serene...serene indeed!
Stacey really needs to learn how to be more photogenic and look at the camera!

I'm not one for sitting at the top of a mountain for very long since I only think of how long it will take to get back down, so we headed out shortly after we summited and took in the scenery.  Coming down wasn't nearly as painful at Mt. Si since it didn't take as long to get to the point where we pretty much off the mountain.  I could tell Stacey's hips were hurting her going back down all the stairs but she still powered through and did great.  We made it back to the car in about an hour and a half and immediately drove to the closest McDonald's for fuel (don't judge...hehe).

someone tried REALLY hard to stay awake in the car but failed :)
I woke up this morning not really sore at all but my legs are pretty tired. I counted up all the miles I ran/walked/hiked this weekend and it was over 18...I'm calling that a really successful workout weekend and it made me feel a bit more confident that my legs won't fall off when I run over 30 miles for Ragnar :).

As for that training for the whole Ragnar Ultra thing...I've been running, just not blogging about it. I should get back on that since I have way more motivation to get out there when I tell you all I'm going to do it!  I'll work on that ;).

QUESTION: Any Pacific Northwest hikes I NEED to do this summer?