Thursday, May 30, 2013

Memorial Weekend and a Free 10K

Race #16 of 2013
Run of Remembrance 10K
This morning I was excited to run a 10K with my cute daughter and her husband.  I haven't run a 10K probably since this same one last year.  The race started at 8:00 am and for some silly reason I set my alarm for 5:15 am.  When I woke up I was baffled as to why I did that?  I must still be in the half marathon mode of thinking that I need to catch a bus.  I quickly set the alarm to go off at 6:15 am and fell right back to sleep for an extra hour.  So, then I got up and got ready and Mark got up to go join us as well.  He and Cooper would watch the cute little grand kids while me, Kali, and Wade ran.

This little precious face right here makes getting up early and going for a run totally worth it.  She was so thrilled to be out there listening to all the noise and chatter and had plenty of smiles for this grandma.  I love that little bow glued to her head.
He was having a good time too and was excited to be out playing with Grandma, Grandpa, and Cooper.  It was just a little cold, and a little early at the moment.  He sure loves his hoodies.
I'm so proud of my daughter, Kali, and her hubby Wade.  They have been starting running programs of their own.  Kali will be running the Utah Valley Half Marathon again this year.  Last year she was pregnant and really was challenged with that whole experience.  This year should be a difference experience.  Wade is excited about running a half marathon as well and is looking for a good one.  You can believe I sure gave him my honest opinion about races I love.  It's just so cool to me to have my family here with me.  I love that they are runners too.
The race started a little late but it was a free race so I'm not complaining.  They were trying to get the main road through American Fork shut down from traffic and then they moved us all out there and we started.  Kali decided to run the 5K due to some shin issues.  She is still trying to get that figured out.  She was very happy with her performance today and was able to run the whole thing, no walking!  Way to go girl!  This momma is very happy for you.
Mark was our photographer and didn't know when to expect Wade., so sadly no picture of him running.  He came in from the 10K around 55 minutes.  Awesome job! I should have tied a rope to him and hung on.
At mile 2 I immediately was feeling like this would be a disaster race for me.  For some reason these shorter runs play with my mind and I think they are supposed to be easier than a half  marathon.  Oh no......I was hurting from the very beginning and the first 4 ish miles of this race are uphill.  I had forgotten about that from last year.  I haven't run a race like this in ages.  It was a constant run, walk, run, walk.  I just couldn't seem to find my mojo.  Finally when we crested the hills I found my rhythm and was able to figure out what I was doing.  But by mile 6 the race was over.  What?  Crazy.  I had a good time though.  I was hoping to beat last year's time, since that was a goal I had made at the beginning of the year-beat each duplicate races time by a few seconds in 2013.  Well, win some, you lose some.  I'm not going to stress it.  I came in 25 seconds slower than last year.  I'm going to blame the super hilly half marathon I had run only 2 days previously.  
The treats afterward, which is my favorite part were pretty sad.  Oranges and water.  What can you expect from a free race though right?  I was just grateful for a fun, family event and being there together.
We came home from the race and immediately Mark got to work on some projects he had started previously.  We had a pine tree on the right side of this window that had been hacked off when we moved here 3 1/2 years ago.  It was finally looking pretty sad and brown and so Mark pulled that out.  He also cleaned up underneath the other pine tree and took off a few branches.  Now I need to plant some flowers and get my pots filled up with pretty stuff.
Here is obviously an old photo, taken in December 2009, when we moved here to show that sad, crazy tree.
Mark had tilled the garden on Saturday and I went to Cook's greenhouse and bought all my plants and got the garden planted.  I can't wait for some delicious garden goodness.  I planted tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, green peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and spaghetti squash.  When the tomatoes are ready and you would like a tomato sandwich on some homemade wheat bread you are officially invited over to partake with me.  I love a juicy tomato sandwich!
A big project Mark and Cooper have been working on for about a month now is a new roof over our back porch.  The old one that was there when we moved here was basically a joke.  The roof was so low Mark would bump his head on it when we stepped outside.  There was chicken wire to enclose it all in and it was just built very Mickey Mouse like.  So down it finally came. ( I can't believe we didn't do this sooner, but projects take time)  I scoured through all of my photos and can't find one single photo of that ugly roof that was there before.  I wish I had taken a picture of it before Mark tore it down. 
I'm going to do a post later of the full project when it's completely done.  For now these photos show how amazing Mark is.  He's such a hard worker and a great guy!  So glad he's my hubby.  Cooper is a great boy too.  He helped out so much on this project as well.
By the time our day had dwindled away from projects it was getting dark and we wanted to go up and visit Porter's grave.  It's always quite an amazing sight seeing the graveyard covered in beautiful flowers showing respect and loved to so many deceased.  It's such a sweet place to just sit and reflect and remember.
Still miss this little boy of mine.  Always wonder what he's doing, and what he would be doing if he were still here with us. 
Jordan had to work a super long day and had already come up here on his own time.  I wasn't aware of that but was touched by his actions and thoughts for his younger brother when I found out. 
Brittany and Cooper
♥Love you Porter♥

Sunday, May 26, 2013

HOLY HANNAH HILLS HALF MARATHON and How Many Pieces of Watermelon is Too Many to Indulge In?

Race #15 of 2013
Alpine Classic Half Marathon

Ok, so this race really wasn't called the Holy Hannah Hills Half Marathon but that's what it would be called if I was the race director.  I don't think there is a single flat street in the city of Alpine anywhere.  It sets nestled between a mountain on the East and some more mountains on the North.  It made for a beautiful run as far as scenery goes but my legs and body were screaming at me. There is still snow in the mountains and so that provided a nice lush, cool breeze to the morning run.  It really was beautiful.
Since my drive to this race was only about 20 minutes and there was no bus pick-up I finally got to sleep in a little bit on a Saturday morning.  Well....if you call 5:00 am sleeping in.  It is in comparison to the previous weeks 2 am something wake-up calls.  I drove to the start and got there a little before 6:00 am.  There were only about 8 cars in the parking lot and they were the volunteers waiting to get instructions from the RD.  I took a picture of the beautiful moon as it was going down. 
About ten minutes later my buddy Josh and his brother showed up.  We got our packets from the RD who was giving them out from the back of his vehicle.  Yep....this was a pretty small race.  Actually the inaugural for this particular one.  But I'll admit, despite the hills, everything else about this race was awesome. 
I wanted to get my body a little warmed up and told Josh to go run a little bit with me.  We ran down the street and back for about 1/2 mile.  That seemed to help.  He's game with whatever I propose, still calls me mama duck.  Our goal at first for running this half was to take our time and enjoy a casual easy run.  Then my friend Jonathon encouraged me to try for 2 hours.  Ya right!  He said it would be good training for the Top of Zion Relay coming up next month.  There was also the possibility of going for an age group award with such a small number of runners.  I decided to just go with what my body was telling me.  I just didn't know what to expect with so many hills.
We shed our stuff and stuck it in the car.  It was then I realized I forgot my ipod at home charging on the computer.  Grrrrr.........I was so frustrated.  I've run races before without music when I was pacing but when I have tunes to listen to it sure makes a difference.  I was just going to have to be sure and enjoy the scenery and maybe sing my own songs.  No music definitely meant no PR.  At the starting line I chatted with my friend Cindy and her hubby.  Doesn't she have the prettiest smile and dimples?
We lined up and the National Anthem was played.  Then about 7:03 am we were off.  There was supposed to be about 150 runners for this inaugural race but when the results came back there were actually only about 85 half marathoners.  Maybe the 5K were the remainder.  I certainly didn't run my best race.  In fact those hills were challenging and I would just have to lean into them and pump my arms to get up them. 
At mile 6 I was needing a pit stop and we got a nice treat of GU and Sport Beans.  I've never had Sports Beans but they were delicious.  Just a glorified jelly bean basically with a little caffeine in them.  Josh was back there enjoying his GU a little too much I think.  It was all over his face like a little kid licking a bowl of frosting. I couldn't stop laughing for a few moments.  Good thing I had already used the bathroom.
Races that give away free photos are pretty swell.  Along the course at different points they had a photographers taking pictures. 
Josh and I have tried doing jumping pictures before but have never been successful in being together.  Well, at last it worked!  Probably won't ever happen again.

The course was so perfectly marked (until the end).  The RD said there were 150 signs out on the course and that we shouldn't get lost.  With there only being about 85 people running the half marathon it was a very spread out crowd.  I definitely needed those signs and was grateful for a well marked course.  
Josh stayed with me until about mile 10 and he told me I could take off if I needed to.  I wanted him to hang with me and encouraged him to keep pushing.  He is running another half marathon 2 days later and wanted to be careful about being able to run that so he let me go on ahead.
As I came into the finish line area we were on a park trail and I saw a big white painted arrow on the trail turning left.  I also saw the finish line chute way down the grassy area behind the school where we started.  I was confused but thought I needed to follow the arrow.  As I got further away from the finish line and was running out to the front of the school a bunch of girls doing a car wash told me to turn around and go back.  
I think I probably lost about 5 minutes by making this wrong turn.  Good thing I wasn't trying for a PR.  I headed back and came into the finish line at 2:28:19 according to my watch.
Others had told me the course was short but all they needed to do was make my mistake and then it would have been a perfect half marathon distance.  With my .41 warm up I got 13.5 miles in for the day.  I'm trying to get 200 miles in for the month and any extra mileage I can get at races is alright with me.
As I came into the finish line the RD handed me a pair of socks.  Pretty sweet!  I had told him before the race that I had been trying to talk up his race to running friends and running facebook groups as well as the the race pacers group.  I would like to see his race grow.  He did a fabulous job with aid stations and volunteers.  The course was beautiful (despite hills)  The after race treats were delicious.  I probably ate 5 pieces of watermelon and debated a 6th, wondering how many is too many?  It was just hitting the spot so nicely.
Now after taking all these photos I've realized I wished I would have taken more of the beautiful mountains to the East and North.  All of my photos are taken showing the West and South.  Maybe I'll have to snag some from Josh when he posts.

The rest of these photos are for Josh to decide which ones he wants to keep. We like to share photos.  Go ahead Josh, copy and use.  Or maybe it's just that we are so gosh darn happy to be done and chilling out.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ogden Marathon

Race #14 of 2013
Ogden Marathon
What in the world am I doing running a marathon?  
Half marathons are the distance I love. 
I questioned this decision of mine for many days.  

Well, my friend Josh won himself a half marathon entry into the Ogden marathon after he had already purchased a full entry and decided he would rather run the half marathon.  He offered the full entry to anyone that wanted it on Facebook for a couple bags of jelly beans.  I watched as day after day went by and nobody took it.  I was so surprised.  This is a big marathon and takes a lottery to get into.  After a few days  I decided I would step up and take it off his hands. What are running friends for anyway?  He was rewarded with a nice big basket of goodies along with the jelly beans and I think he was pretty happy about that.

I have run a number of races longer than a marathon but in reality this marathon would only be my second one done on the road.  I prefer trails for longer distances and find that my body does too.  My first road marathon was ran last year in September with a time of 5 hours and 6 minutes.  My goal for this marathon would be to break the 5 hour mark.  So I got onto and printed me out a pace band for 4 hours and 55 minutes.  I thought if I tried for 5 minutes quicker than the 5 hour mark that would help me reach my goal. 
Race morning dawned bright and early.  Wait......let me take that back.  It wasn't bright yet, in fact it was still the middle of the night as I got up to my alarm at 2:45 am.  I ate a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and honey before I headed out the door.  Who eats at 3:00 in the morning?  That was just a little challenging but I knew I would need the fuel.  I toasted a bagel and put cream cheese on it for eating closer to the race start and grabbed a banana as well.  I was picking up Hollie and Josh about 35 miles away and planned to get them by 4:00 am. Last bus was at 5:30 and we were still another 35 minutes away.  I knew I could get us there in time.  I have some mad driving skills.  Just ask Josh.  He wants to hire me as his chauffeur.
Here we are, chipper as can be! Josh, Hollie and me. at 4:00 am.
Parking was a breeze.  
The walk to the bus pick-up was easy, although I've never seen as many buses in my life as I did this morning.
The morning was just flowing nicely.
It was just still dark outside though and there was moisture in the air. 
Raindrops coming down!
The weather forecast was calling for rain.  Sheesh!  

Josh had to ride a different bus for the half marathon so me and Hollie said good-bye to him.  He was going to wait around at the finish line for me since I was technically his ride home.  What a good guy.  I'm not sure I would wait an additional three hours after a race for a ride home.
We got on the bus and got a front seat.  I like to watch the road as I'm traveling to the race start.  That's probably not a good thing to add to the nerves.  Watching the road all that way just shows how far you really have to run.  When we got off the bus they immediately handed out 2 grocery sacks to everyone to tie around your feet.  The meadow we were meeting in was wet and muddy from the rain.  Surprisingly enough though it wasn't a frigid bitter cold morning. Hollie told me all about how great fig newtons are for pre-race fueling.  She dislikes them but eats them anyway.  She insisted I eat one and I happily did so.  I like fig newtons.  

I didn't mention yet that Hollie is about 9 weeks pregnant and has been sick.  I am so amazed at her being here and running a marathon.  She has been such a great support and friend in this running effort of mine.  She's always so positive and you would never know she's suffering or sick herself.  She definitely had her own challenges to deal with today as she ran and we actually see-sawed back and forth throughout the course.  I was grateful I got to see her so much, but it was only because of her struggles she was having.  Otherwise she would have been long gone!  She came into the finish line about a minute or so before me and once again I was so happy and pleased for her!
We plopped ourselves down in front of a fire pit all covered in our rain gear and shoe sacks and just started chatting with people.  It's now about 6:00 am and I eat my bagel and banana.  The race still wouldn't be starting for another hour and 15 minutes.  I always wonder why we have to get to a race start so early to only wait....wait....wait.....Just a little frustrating. 
I saw Mike Porter, a blogging friend I met at the revolution run this year. I was too lazy to get off the ground after being all wrapped up and motioned him over to chat and get a photo.  He was running his first marathon (I think) for Team in Training.  He did a write-up of his experience and you can read about it here. He's a good guy.  Anybody with the name Porter has to be a good guy in my book.
When the skies started to lighten up we headed to the pit stop lines, then to the drop bag area to get rid of all our unwanted stuff.  We found some more cute friends out and about to visit.  Runner Jen is the sweetest ever.  I love her blog and I just love her!
Seeing Galen and Angie at a race is always a treat!  It just wouldn't be a race if they weren't there. They are members of the Marathon Maniac Club.  I just don't understand how people run so many marathons and still love it. 

At this point I ditched my rain poncho, coat, gloves, camera etc. in the drop bag.  There were big black garbage bags available at the truck and so I took one of those so I could ditch it along the route if it stopped raining.  Well....that never happened.

The race started at 7:15 am and we were off.  My plan was to start out a little bit faster so that I could stay ahead of my pace band.  I knew I could run a faster mile than what it was telling me but I didn't know if I could maintain it for 26.2 miles.  So I wanted to bank some time for a large, long hill I had been warned about.  I only had to make 2 potty stops and at the second one my watch got bumped and paused.  I didn't know for how long and so I had to take that into account as I ran. (couldn't have been more than 30 seconds)

The weather was awful.  
I've never heard so many garbage bags and rain ponchos rustling at the same time.
I like to listen to the chatter of people talking around me in the early miles of a race but after a couple miles I was tired of the garbage bag sounds so out came the ipod.

The course was beautiful though. I didn't have my camera and have no pictures of the beautiful valley, lake, canyon and gorgeousness everywhere.
Around mile 14 the rain finally eased up and I took my garbage bag off.  A kind gentlemen on the side of the road cheering for runners asked if he could take my bag off my hands.  I looked at the skies and told him I better hold on to it.  Sure enough about mile 17-18 the skies opened up and down it poured again until about mile 26.  I think I got to enjoy no rain for the last quarter mile.
Josh was there at the finish line waiting and I gave him a hug and told him I hated him.  I don't like marathons.  PERIOD.  We both share that same thought and vowed we don't want to run them anymore.  Granted though....I am running a 50K next month and another trail marathon in November but those don't count because I will have soft cushy dirt under my feet and that's a whole different experience.
Because my watched got bumped off I didn't have a clue if I had actually made it under 5 hours.  I looked all over the finish line area for race results and could never find them.  It wasn't until I dropped off Josh and got home an hour later that Josh texted me and told me I had four seconds to spare before the 5 hour mark.  I was THRILLED! That's all I wanted to do and it happened.  4:59:55 Done!