Sunday, March 29, 2009

Race Report: Virginia Beach Marathon (with pictures)

Sorry this race report is a week late, but better late than never! Hubs and I arrived in Virginia Beach late Thursday after a looonnngg (11 hours!) drive from Nashville Tennessee. It was a beautiful drive, as we passed through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and Smokey Park in North Carolina.

We stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites, and we had an ocean front room. I highly recommend this hotel. It was really nice, colourful modern decor, large rooms with plasma televisions, and beautiful ocean views. Incredibly, we only paid $124 per night. Wow!
Our Hotel Room

View from Balcony

I had trained hard for this marathon, and the week before I ran a personal best half marathon of 1:53, that felt easy. I was hoping for a PB, but unfortunately I caught a cold a few days before, and although I never completely gave up (I wanted to stay positive), I knew a PB was unlikely. I made just crossing Virginia off of my 50 state list, my "rock bottom-must-do" goal, and hoped for the best.
Hubs and I took it easy for the few days leading up to the marathon. The ocean views at Virginia Beach were beautiful, but I did find the "beach strip" a little tacky-ish, basically all little novelty/surfboard/wax museum type stores. I am sure some love this, but its just not my cup of tea.

Race morning I woke up very congested, coughing up green chunks (sorry if this is too much information). Other than the cough, I felt fine and wanted to give the race a try.

Hubs and I (as usual) were a little late leaving our hotel room, and had difficulty finding parking, we rushed to the start and arrived at the bag drop just as the gun went off. Here is a picture of us starting off. My first time ever sporting my Marathon Maniacs singlet!

The weather on race day was perfect. In fact, we were expecting cooler weather, but it was about mid 40's at the start, and high 50's at the end. A beautiful, sunny day. I overdressed a little, but one thing I didn't want to be was cold with a cold.

The race started fine. I felt a little hesitant, I knew my energy was not 100%, but really I felt OK. The one thing that was frustrating me was my Garmin. Rushing to the start I had forgotten to turn it on, and it wasn't picking up my location. Hubs (the non-watch runner) kept telling me not to worry about it. I couldn't help it. I really needed to know my pace, I tried to run by feel, but its hard when you are used to running by a watch pace. This threw me off. We eventually passed the 4:15 bunny, and could see the 4:00 hour bunny, so I relaxed a little. At least I had some idea of our pace.

The course more or less has two out and back loops. There a TON of people dressed in green, and the enthusiasm from spectators was nothing short of AMAZING!! We ran through the Army base camp area, and the soldiers were cheering us on. I kind of teared up a little, so many of them were SO YOUNG, and I thought of how many soldiers have been lost to senseless wars recently, and that they all have parents that worry about them. Their ENTHUSIASM was nothing short of amazing! Bless you all!!
The other thing that was cool was how many times, we heard "Go Maniacs", and how many people shouted out my name on my bib. Of my 12 marathons, Virginia Beach wins the award for crowd support.
The other benefit of this course is that it really is PANCAKE flat! The only hill (and that's a stretch) was a small overpass on the out and back in the first loop.

I started to feel tired around the 10 mile mark. I knew that it wasn't going to be a PB, but I was worried then I wouldn't finish. I tried to slow and just focus on finishing. One great thing that happened past mile 11 was that we were routed to the boardwalk. Again tons of crowd support and absolutely stunning ocean views. I kept reminding myself how truly fortunate I was to be there, to be running, to be sharing this experience with the thousands of other marathoners on the coarse. I knew then I would finish.

After the halfway mark, we ran up the second loop. We could see the half marathoners (mostly walkers at this point) making their way to the finish- they had started an hour earlier and ran the second half of the course.

The second half of the course took us to some rural roads, I struggled a bit between miles 14-18, taking walking breaks, but I was enjoying the race. I was eating and drinking well, and aside from coughing every now and then, I felt OK.

Around mile 18, I kind of got my second wind, and starting running really strong (thank you pfitz), and passed a ton of people. We ran through another army base, and past some beautiful lighthouses.

We eventually ended up back on the strip, heading back to the finish line. This is one part of this marathon I didn't like. Long boring stretches on roads with little scenery. I couldn't wait until we could run on the boardwalk oceanfront again. The amazing crowd support made this parts better. Hubs had some beer that was offered by spectators.
Finally we curved left back towards the ocean. The finish was amazing. A stretch of boardwalk lined with people cheering. I tried to take it all in. Don't you just love marathon finishes? They are all special, and this one, was one of the most memorable. It was awesome and nice to share with Hubs.

We ended up finishing in 4 hours 32 minutes and change. Certainly not a PB, but I was proud of how I ran the race. I can honestly say I did my best under the conditions. I am not disappointed, I have many more marathons in my future! And of course, the best part is the medal:

Some of you asked about how many States/Provinces I have run a marathon in. Here is where I have completed marathons to date:

-Ohio (Last Chance for Boston)
-Pennsylvania (Philadelphia x2)
-Tennessee (Nashville)
-Virginia Beach (Shamrock)

-Ontario (Hamilton, Ottawa(x3), Scotiabank, Niagara Falls)
-Quebec (Quebec City Marathon)
So only four states and two provinces so far, but I am not in any hurry. I will have a few more by the end of the spring (yes I am plotting another few marathons for the spring, as I still want to try to run sub 4 hour before the spring is up!)

Unfortunately for me this cold is hanging on. I tried a few little recovery runs this week that ended in coughing fits. I was planning on running the historic Around the Bay 30K (oldest race in North American -even Boston) race today, but I have reluctantly decided to sit it out. Drat I love this race. Congrats to Mel, and Vava, Sonia and Hubs. Can't wait for race reports! You all did amazing.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reese's Run Early Bird Winners!!!

50.00$ Keg Steakhouse Gift Certificate - Melanie

Explosive Running Book - Katie Riley

Ladies, if you could please e-mail me (see side bar) or Christy your address, we will mail you out the prizes!

Thanks so much everyone for their generous support and donations so far! Your willingness to participate and contributions are sincerely appreciated, especially by those children who suffer from Arthritis. We have 43 runners registered to run Reese's Run so far!!!

Registration is still ongoing until April 23rd. There are great prizes such as 100$ online shoes, gift certificates, and more!!

Click here to register for Reese's Run (donate to the Arthritis Society)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prizes! Fabulous Prizes!

Tomorrow is the "early bird" registration deadline for Reese's 4 mile Virtual Run. Register (donate to Arthritis Society) for Reese's run by 11:59 pm March 24th!! The early bird prizes are great:

-A $50 gift card!

-A fabulous running book

In addition to the early bird draw we are also have other prizes not only for the winning times but random drawings of names of all who participate. Don't delay, sign up for this great event for a great cause today!

My sincere thanks to those that have shown their tremendous support for the event so far!

P.S My Shamrock race report will follow. I have another race this weekend, the 30K Around the Bay Event. I hope I get better soon or I may have to give away my bib for this one! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shamrock Marathon Result

Well no PR for me today. I wasn't really expecting one, I've been pretty laid down with a cold since Tuesday, so much so that I almost didn't run except that this trip cost too much to just skip the race.

I'm glad I did, I really enjoyed the marathon. I ran it with Hubs and we finished in a little over 4:30 hours. Good news is I can now cross Virginia off of my 50 state list.

Here was the sunrise from our hotel room this morning. Gorgeous beach view.

Full race report to follow. Pushing off for home now! Thanks for reading

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Update

Wow, its just 4 days until my next marathon, the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon. I am excited to be able to run another marathon, it seems like forever since I ran Philly in November!

After the half marathon this weekend I unfortunately caught a little cold, I had joint aches and a little but a fever, but fortunately I felt better today, just a dry cough. I refuse to let a cold get in the way of trying my very best at this marathon. I am not sure what to expect time wise. I would love to PR, but either way, I'll be able to cross Virginia off of my 50 state list.

I have really enjoyed my last few days in Nashville. Today was nothing short of glorious. 73F, sunny. I had lunch outside with my sis at Panera bread in a short sleeve t-shirt and a skirt. I really love spending time with my sister and her family. I don't get to often since she lives in Nashville, and I live in Ontario. Here are a few pictures from the race last week.

My Sister Melissa
Me (far right) -It rained the whole race, so yes I am soaking wet!

My nephews at the awards ceremony

Tomorrow morning Hubs and I are shoving off for Virginia Beach. I hope to post again to let you know some of the early bird prizes for Reese's run. They are good so sign up now if you haven't yet. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Race Report: Tom King Classic Half Marathon

I know, I know, I didn't tell you I had a half marathon race this weekend.

Well its because I wasn't entirely sure I did. So now you know, and here's the report.

I finished work on Thursday exhausted. I really didn't sleep at all Wednesday night. There was so much on my mind with book writing deadlines, student assessments, Reese's 4 miler race, and that little event I have one week tomorrow. Yikes!

So as soon as I was finished work I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment, my back has been sore lately, so I've really cut back my mileage. I came home and slept until 7pm. Hubs and I frantically packed and headed out the door at 9 pm for our 15 hour -2 day commute to Nashville. Arrived on my sister's doorstep at 10:30 Nashville time last night. Exhausted.

So anyway, when the alarm went off this morning, and it was pouring rain, and I hadn't yet signed up for the race, my immediate thoughts were. I can skip this. Its my secret race. No one knows I was thinking of running it, so who cares. Good, roll over back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later I begrudgingly got up. My sister was running this race (and Hubs), and since it was an out and back loop, I knew I could see her on the course. It would be our first race that we both ran in at the same time. And my sister is slowly making her way back to racing, so I didn't want to miss that.

I dressed in a skirt and long sleeve. I have run outside in shorts since Philly in Nov, but it was still cold since it was raining, so I stayed inside until the race began.

The course was fairly flat, and scenic. It ran along a bike path along the Cumberland (sp?) river in Downtown Nashville. It finishes inside the big stadium that is home of the Tennessee Titans, and you get to see yourself on the Jumbo tron screen.

I wasn't sure what to do for the race, I decided to play it by ear. I started off a little fast, and after some self scolding, I decided to settle in at a 5:20 min/km/8:58 mil/min pace, and basically felt comfortable. I was able to keep the pace the whole way and ran a personal best of 1:53:15 :).

The good news gets better. Hubs shaved 6 minutes off his PR and ran a 1:44:47. He ran it as usual, without a watch. I don't know how he does this. I'm pretty sure I looked at my watch a number greater than Avogadro's number during the race.

Better still. My sister won the race. Well she was the first female. Her "getting back into it time" was 1:21:4x!!! It was awesome to see her out there, and even more awesome to watch her collect her prize money. Way to go Sissa!!! You inspire me!

The weather for the race was perfect, cool, maybe a little too rainy, but I think it kept you cool, and it was overcast. I really liked the route, and after a tough Canadian winter, I relished the cherry blossom trees and the green grass after seeing nothing but white and brown for months, its a real treat.

I will catch on your blogs soon. In the meantime, if you haven't registered for Reese Run, click here to register, I will be announcing some early bird prizes soon! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reese's Run

You may recall that I decided to join the Joints in Motion Team for the Barbados Marathon with my friend Christy. The purpose of the marathon is to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Society. After running over 10 marathons, and dozens of other races, I really feel that I want to give back to the sport that has given so much to me.

Why Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that impacts many, but doesn’t receive as many donations or public awareness opportunities as other charities. Unfortunately, arthritis is also a disease that impacts many children.

My Arthritis Hero
Although I know many adults that suffer from Arthritis, there is nothing worse than a child suffering chronic pain. For this reason, I chose my friend Christy’s beautiful daughter Reese as my hero. Reese suffers from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Reese is not alone as a child with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Here is an excerpt from a press release from the Arthritis Society.

Affecting about 1 in 1,000 Canadians under the age of 16, juvenile arthritis (JA) is a leading chronic disease among kids in this country. The Arthritis Society uses Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month in March to heighten awareness of this disease and to raise much-needed funds for research that will find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.
“Arthritis is a crushing reality for many children in Canada; it’s not just their parents or grandparents who are at risk,” says Dr. Brian Feldman, Vice Chair of The Arthritis Society’s Medical Advisory Committee and a paediatric rheumatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “The course of juvenile arthritis is unpredictable. Painful flare-ups may occur without warning and the child has to undergo a rigorous, time-consuming and sometimes unpleasant treatment program.”
Juvenile arthritis is the result of the body’s immune system not working properly. The immune system fails to recognize healthy body tissue and attacks it. Symptoms include excruciating pain and inflammation in the joints. Depending on the severity of the arthritis, some children experience irregular growth or physical disability.
The rest of the article can be found at the following link

Now for the Exciting News!!

In order to kick off our fundraising for the marathon, Christy and I are hosting a 4 mile virtual race for the Arthritis Society.
Here are the details:

What: Reese's Run: 4 Mile Virtual Race
When: April 24th, 2009
Registration: $10.00 minimum donation (feel free to donate more if you can!)

Great Prizes!!!
Early bird prize (Register before March 24th)
First male
First female
Random draws

To register go HERE

Christy and I would so greatly appreciate if you could post and advertise this virtual race on your blog space (feel free to copy the race banner). Your support means a lot, especially for the millions of children and adults that suffer from arthritis in North America.

Please join us and get your Joints in Motion on April 24th, for Arthritis research!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Race Attire

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you will know I have a bit of an obsession with Running Skirts. Imagine my delight when I went to their website, and found out they have created a running skirt for the Shamrock Marathon.

Cute (although I would wear a tank top).

However, this is my first marathon in which I get to wear the Marathon Maniac singlet! I became a maniac back in November at the Hamilton Marathon, but I didn't get my singlet in time for Philly marathon, so this is my first chance to wear the singlet (yellow, red and black theme similar to the logo below). I only want to wear the singlet for marathon races.

I could combine the two, but would Tim Gunn approve? (I *heart* Tim)

Tough call, but I think I am going to wear the MM singlet, but I just might get that skirt anyway for another race. Oh wait, I am supposed to be cutting back on running purchases... LOL Who am I kidding?!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Race Report: Chilly Half Marathon

Thanks to everyone for your advice regarding my taper for the Shamrock Marathon. I think I will run 16-18 miles this weekend instead of the planned 22. I think my legs need the rest, and I won't get any benefit other than psychological from running the 22.

This past weekend I ran the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington Ontario. I ran this race last year, and it held my current half marathon PR, so I wanted to come back and run it again. Its a flat route, and the back half of the race runs along Lake Ontario and by some really nice homes in Burlington.

I went into the race with no expectations really. A PR is always nice ofcourse, but once again the weather forecast was ominous. On Saturday they were calling for -12C and -22 with the windchill (10F/-8F with windchill)... I know, freaking cold!! And I was freaking out a little bit.

Not because I was worried about my time, but because I am a wimp when it comes to the cold!

Thankfully when race morning came, the Sun was out in full force, and it was cold, but it was manageble. I brought my Balaclava just in case but I didn't end up needing it. In fact, I kinda overdressed. I had my base layer, top layer, and then my windjacket. But I was OK with being a little warm since I *hate* being cold. There were crazy people with shorts, trust me, it was not short weather!

The race was really crowded at the start. Apparently they had 400 more runners in the field this year, and I found it a bit frustrating weeving through masses of people, including walkers walking 4 abreast! People, line up at your proper pace! This went on for nearly 3 miles (5K), so it was kinda of difficult to settle into a pace and find some road space.

The race went OK, but I have to admit I dread half marathon a little. Pushing yourself for nearly 2 hours at lactic sucks, and I felt nautious and had upper back pain the whole way. I just kept thinking, this will help you peak for Shamrock.

Overall though I felt OK with the run. I have been a little worried that most of my training has been on indoor tracks and on the TM, and I have been running outside only when the weather permits, which has been rare this winter.

I gave the race an honest effort, although I think I could have pushed harder. This morning I woke up with no quad pain, so either I heal quickly or I could have ran faster, but either way, here is the result.

21.K/13.1 miles/1:57:35(chip time)/8:58min/mile/5:34min/K

So nearly two minutes from my PB, but factor in the cold, and the fact that I ran alot the previous weekend, I think I am happy with my result. Well to be more honest, maybe a little discouraged, I have felt a little like I have regressed the past few weeks, I know sometimes this happens in marathon training cycles. I hope I can repeat this at Shamrock twice (and that it is easier..).

After the race, it was great to see Marlene, (I also got to say hello the previous day at the expo). Thanks for volunteering Marlene, and it was great seeing you at the finish!

Hubs and I went out for beer and food later with some Running friends, and that is the best part of running local races!

Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading!

P.S - Canadian bloggers running ATB - how about a pre or post race meet up? Post in comment section below if you are interested!