Thursday, December 17, 2009

Secret Santa Gift Ideas

Hubs and I are meeting some running friends for a little Christmas cheer this Saturday morning.  We are going for a little trail run and then brunch at a running friends house.  We are supposed to bring a running gift for a "mystery gift" exchange.  Here's the criteria
-something a runner would enjoy

I need some creative ideas,  and you guys are amoung the most creative people I know,  so please, HELP!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Race Plans: What's Up Next?

First off,  thanks for all your nice comments about CIM.  I am still riding on a high from that race.  It will take a special marathon to beat that experience!

I am beginning to put in place my race plans for the remainder of 2009/spring 2010.  I definately want to be more selective about the races I complete, but here is what I have planned so far:


1. January 24th - Robbie Burns 8K/5 mile road race (Burlington, Ontario)

I ran this last year in 44 odd minutes, so I know I can do better.  It  is a really fun little race, cheap registration fee with a full breakfast served after - a good pick-me-up for the dead of Canadian winter.  Plus you get an instakilt with registration...

LOL...  I am not sure I will be using that..  Maybe on race day or possibly Halloween?

2. March 7th - Chilly Half Marathon  (Hamilton, Ontario)
I run this half marathon every year as a tune-up for the spring running season.  This year it has a new route along Lake Ontario.  Should be fun.   Who else is running this?  Maybe a blogger meet-up?

Possible Registration

1. December 27th, 2009 - Run For the Ranch Marathon (Springfield, Missouri)
I know I just ran CIM,  but this marathon would allow me to meet my goal of 5 marathons in 5 different states for 2009 (It will be my 9th marathon of the year).  It is a 5K loop,  and I would visit my sister in Nashville afterwards to celebrate the New Year.  I think it will be a game time decision,  if the weather is crappy,  I won't run it.  

2. March 28th - Around the Bay (Hamilton, Ontario)
Depending on the other races I choose,  I may or may not run this one.  It is a great course,  and a really fun event, with great history.  The race itself is older than the Boston Marathon,  a fact that is widely advertised on the race shirts.  Last year I sat this one out sick! :(

3.  Feb 14th -  Myrtle Beach Marathon (Myrtle Beach,  SC)
The timing of this marathon is good - we have a long weekend for family day as well.  

4. LA Marathon!!!!!!

Last night I was at a Christmas party (full of running friends),  and a plan was formulated to possibly run LA!!! Yes copius amounts of wine and beer allowed us to come to this decision! It is at the tail end of my March break, and I was thinking of visiting my Dad again in San Ramon, and then doing the coastal drive (that I've always wanted to do) down to LA and finish with the marathon.  The elevation change is similar to CIM,  rolling hills, which I loved. Its a brand-new route,  running from Dogers Stadium to the beach. Here is a promo video of the new course:

I am trying really hard not to race too many races,  but there are so many good options out there!!  If you know anything about Myrtle Beach or LA,  I would appreciate your feedback.

Hope you are all having a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Race Report: California International Marathon (with pics)

I arrived home yesterday from California, and I had a blast!  Here is a quick recap on my time in the San Franscisco area,  and ofcourse the highlight of the visit, the California International Marathon.

This race was really special since my sister was also running it.  As many of you know,  my Dad also lives near San Franscisco in the town of San Ramon, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to get a visit and run a marathon that I had heard so many of the Cal runners rave about last year,  and maybe get a chance to meet a few of these ladies as well!

Friday I had plans to meet Jolynn but awoke after travel, with a headache and a really bad case of pre-race nerves, so unfortunately I did not get to meet her! :(  Hopefully I will get to meet her when I return possibly in March.  I spent most of the day Friday low key catching up with family and trying to rehydrate after feeling very dehydrated after the 5 hour plus flight on Thursday.

Saturday morning came and we made the 1 hour trip to Sacramento.  We got there had lunch,  and then hit up the expo!  It was a small expo and rather unremarkable,  but well organized none the less.

We had a quiet afternoon and evening,  and went to bed early to ready ourselves for our 4 am wakeup call.  When the morning came,  I felt really calm.  Usually I dread the start of a marathon,  but today I felt calm.  I just went over the messages I had gotten from friends and family prior to the marathon in my head.  One good friend in particular told me "Stay strong out there, we are with you with, you can do this".  It really stuck with me and became my mantra whenever I struggled throughout the race.

This race is a point-to-point course (which I loved),  so we stayed on the warm buses until 10 minutes prior. I said goodbye to my sis (who lined up at the front - she ran a 2:53 marathon),  and went to stand in line at the bag check,  which was poorly located close to the start line.  This created a mob-like jam in front on the trucks that would transport our gear back to the finish,  and people began to push each other towards the bag check.  People also began tossing their bags towards the trucks in spite of being told not to.  It was kinda hilarious,  like a bad comedy skit.  I manuvered my way through the crowd (benefit of being short), and dropped my bag and got the heck out of there!  Nicole said they lost her bag,  CIM work on this organization please!

The race started out and I felt a little crampy but since I started slow, I told myself not to worry,  it would be OK (which it was, but I had lingering mild cramps throughout the race including a calf cramp - maybe dehydration?)  Aron had warned me the course was rolling hills and she is right.  The course is really quite challenging,  and one must do proper hill training to run a good race.  I found myself LOVING the rolling course,  it was never boring,  and everytime you ran up (which was endless),  it was usually followed by a downhill. 

As you ran past each mile marker, there were gentlemen in top hats that would yell out your total time and splits and pace.  I love this!!!  What a great idea!  At first my splits were in the 10's but after I got onto to pace,  they were either high 8's or low nines,  and I loved hearing "you are on pace to run a 3:58 or 4:00 hour marathon"  It helped motivate me to stay on track and I vowed to hear them say that until mile 20 at least!!

I ran my first half in 1:58 (gun time),  and felt a little tired,  but I just kept telling myself I can do this,  and before I knew it I was at mile 20.  My mile 20 split was 3:08 (gun time),  and I was told, "you are on pace to run a marathon in under 4 hours).  I decided I needed to go for it.

Ahhhhh the last six miles,  I ran my best,  only taking my very brief water breaks at the water stations,  but past mile 23 I could hear people yell "yah 4 hours!".  I knew the 4 hour pace bunny was on my tail.  I could hear the mob like "clump clump clump" of the feet behind me,  and honestly,  I tried to hold them off as long as I could. 

When the 4 hour pace bunnies (there were 2) passed me at mile 24,  I was a little relieved,  it was easier to chase then to have them breathing down my back.  I did my best to keep them in my sights,  but man those last two miles are tough.  I really felt like I was outside my body watching down..  I really and truly gave it all I had,  and crossed the finish line at 4:03:20,  with a chip time of 4:02:01.

 I missed seeing my dad, sister and brother in law at the finish -it was so crowded!!  I am so proud of how I ran this race.  I never gave up,  and I know I have a sub 4 hour in me.  After this race,  I know I can eventually chip away and get my 4 hours and maybe a BQ with alot of training and hardwork.  That is what I love about running.  The constant challenge!!

The next day I met up with AronTara,  Danica and Nicole for breakfast in Walnut Creek.  It was so fun meeting these people, and hearing about their marathon experiences.  Everyone ran awesome races!  Aron BQ'ed, Nicole had a PR, and Danica and Tara are now marathon maniacs.  Congrats also to roadbunner who got a great PR race day. 

After breakfast I went to Napa to sample wine, and had an awesome day.  Sigh.... Napa is so beautiful. (sorry I only had my blackberry so excuse the crappy pictures!)

I flew home Tuesday and when I got home Hubs surprised me with this min chocolate cake:

It was so yummy!! What a sweetie!

All in all I LOVED this marathon,  and I just may have to come back and run it again!  The state of California is now done (8 states total down!)

So what's next?! I have a few plans I am mulling over,  which I will post about in a few days.   I am considering another marathon in 3 weeks also.... :)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

CIM marathon: race result

It was a cold (even for this Canadian) and windy day at CIM,  but perfect weather for running a marathon.  I had a great race,  and a almost 7 minute PR, final time 4:02:01...  dang!  If I had known I was that close to 4:01 something, I would have sprinted to the finish.   All in all although I wanted a sub 4 (and wasn't passed by the 4 hour bunny until mile 24),  I am very happy about my result. 

Congrats to all the marathoners today,  in particular Aron,  who I am sure most of you, ran an amazing race and qualified for Boston. 

Full race report to come, soon.  Tomorrow I am off to Napa Valley to sample some wine to celebrate!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

5 mile race report/CIM here I come!

**sigh** Its been awhile since I have posted, time seems to be scarce lately, but I wanted to update you before I leave for California on Thursday to run CIM this weekend (I'm super, super excited!!).  

Training Update
I previously posted about my need for Speed,  and fully intended to keep you all updated weekly on my training.  Overall it went well,  I did all of my speedwork,  long runs and tempos.  I also did my hot yoga twice weekly, and my weekly swim.  I let the weekly bike go due to time restraints,  but I will pick it up after CIM is done.

I have great running friends to thank for keeping me on track and motivated for CIM.  They ran my long runs and did speed work with me every week even though they are not running any marathons until the spring.  We also are participating in Angela's Whittle My Middle challenge,  and I have noticed a significant improvement in my core strength.

Race Update
I decided to run a 5 miler this past weekend to test my progress (and for Alissa's Turkey Trot Race).  The race advertised to be a downhill course,  but there was no downhill in site,  but it was a relatively flat course with a few small rolling hills.  Anyway,  although it was VERY windy,  I managed to pull out a 3 minute one second PR,  with a finish of 39:38 (4:58 km/min pace) .  As a added bonus I was fourth (out of 16) in my age group,  so I was really happy with the result.  I feel ready as I can be for CIM.  I will try my best to relax and hopefully to marathon day will unfold with a PR for me.  I feel as ready as I can be at this point!

I am also participating in Amanda's Bootie Buster Challenge and maganged to rack up 35 points last week. This week I will have less since I am in taper mode.

So I am off to California to see my dad.  My sis and BIL are also running.  I am meeting up with Jolyne on Friday,  and also hope to meet Aron, and a few other bloggers. 

P.S - Although I missed this past Friday, Marlene is also hosting Cans for Comments every Friday.. Marlene will donate canned foods to a food bank for your comments..  what a great cause.

Hope to catch up with you all soon,  I'll update you about CIM soon after I finish!  My bib number is 1081.. although I don't know if you can track live or not.

Have a great hump day, and thanks for reading despite my irregular updates!