Monday Mentionings: November 7

Monday again, friends! Congrats to everyone who ran the NYC Marathon yesterday! I enjoyed seeing all your tweets and facebook updates throughout the race.

I had a pretty low key week last week, which was nice.  Monday evening, Chris and Jazzy had some bonding time while Chris was playing NHL (notice Jazzy sitting right in front of Chris, watching the TV).

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Jazzy has also been super frisky and playful with the cooler weather.  He has been enjoying his tube quite a bit lately. When he’s not sleeping, he’s running around room to room at full speed, or sitting outside watching the squirrels and rabbits.

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Speaking of squirrels, I saw a beautiful white squirrel while running last week, and then on Saturday, I saw him again! I don’t know if he’s part albino or what, but he’s definitely MUCH lighter than the normal squirrels around here.  I ran on the trails near my house, and also saw a deer.  I’m pretty sure the buck was down closer to the water.  I’m glad I was able to get my phone out and get a couple pictures.  There have been so many animals out this fall!

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It’s November, and I’m still able to run in a tank top.  Insane weather.  This weekend it has finally cooled down a bit, but I was still able to run in tank tops both Saturday and Sunday.

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Saturday evening, I went with Chris down to a record store in Westport, where his band opened at another band’s EP release party. It was a small space, but they did great! They have lots of shows coming up (see their upcoming schedule here).

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Sunday morning, Chris and I drove out to Shawnee Mission Park to run.  It was such a gorgeous morning, but unfortunately neither of us had great runs.  We got our runs done, and explored a little bit while we were out there.

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The weather was so nice, we sat and watched the lake for a bit before leaving.  We had lunch and drove around a bit, then got some ice cream.  Mmmm. Sunday done right.

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With the time change yesterday, Jasper was hungry for dinner at 4:30.  He was pretty patient, but did cry and purr and want attention for a little bit before dinner.

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I’m looking forward to this weekend, Mom and her friend Denise are driving down to KC and we’ll do the Longview Half Marathon on Saturday.  Runners, be safe running after dark!

13.1 Tips for a Successful 13.1

It’s fall racing season! I have a half marathon coming up this weekend, and another in about a month.  Lots of my friends have been running half marathons and full marathons and doing so awesome!  The KC Half Marathon this weekend will be my 11th half.  I am not an expert by any means, but I have learned a fair deal about running half marathons, and these reminders are as much for me as for someone tackling their first half marathon!

1.  Nothing new on race day! No new clothes, no new foods, no new pre-race rituals… nothing new! Practice what you’ve been using during training runs.  And practice different things during training to see what works and what doesn’t.

2.  Arrive to the race plenty early.  Limit your race-day stress.  Get to the race and parked with plenty of time to make your way to the start line, use the restroom, check your bag, and warm up.

3.  Have extra safety pins, extra fuel, extra clothes.  I will bring my closet with me to a race, I’ll have extra clothes for after the race, including sandals, but I’ll also have body glide, safety pins, extra gloves, extra gu, etc. Just. In. Case.

4.  Have multiple goals.  I always have a goal of trying to PR, of course.  But some days, it just isn’t in the cards.  It could be too hot, too cold, too windy, or my legs may feel extra heavy, or I may not have trained well enough.  So I always have multiple goals.  Goal 1: PR. Goal 2: secondary time goal, or other goal, such as running it all, etc. Goal 3: FINISH.

5.  Start SLOW! It is so easy to get caught up in the race-start-excitement.  Start slow, slower than you think, because you can’t bank time! Running slower conserves energy, then you can push it when you need to.  On the contrary, if you start out too quickly, you risk burn out, and the second half of your race could be very painful.

6.  Hydrate often.  I take water/gatorade at every water stop.  I might not drink it all, but I take it, even just for a sip.  It’s important to not fall behind and be feeling super thirsty, because that can signal dehydration, plus you’ll be more apt to drink too much and then feel sick.

7.  Run your race, run your pace.  Just because someone else is running faster, slower, easier, etc, does not mean you need to stick with them or try to pass them.  Run your own race.  Everyone is out there for themselves, so don’t concern yourself with trying to “win,” because for almost everyone out there, it’s about completing the race and competing against yourself.

8.  Stick to your fueling plan.  Same as hydration, stick to your plan.  You’ve (hopefully) been working with fuel on your long runs, so you should know how much fuel you need, and when.

9.  Enjoy the run; run in the mile you’re in. If you’re having the race of your life, enjoy each mile and enjoy the run! If you’re having a rough race, stick to each mile, and focus on that mile only, to get you through.

10.  Keep a steady effort up hills and down hills.  Don’t worry about pace on the uphills, but keep your effort steady.  That way, when you reach the top, you won’t be dead, and then you can coast on the downhill and make up some of the time.  Keep your effort steady, and the pace will even itself out.

11.  When you start to fatigue, think about why you started running, why you signed up for this race.  When you want to walk, when you want to quit, think about why you started running, why you signed up for the race, and who you are running for.  Use the support of others to push yourself through.

12.  Smile when you see race photographers, cute kids, funny signs.  Smile at everyone! The spectators, volunteers, and police are all out there for everyone running, so thank them, smile, and enjoy it all.  Racing is something special, so definitely smile at everyone!

13.  Run happy, this race is a celebration of all your hard work and training. Enjoy every step!

and 13.1  Sign up for your next race!

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Do you have any tips and tricks for racing? Good luck to everyone racing this fall!!

KC 13.1 Recap

Grab a chair folks, because this one’s a long one.  Time to recap the KC Half Marathon! Friday, after work, I met Amy at Crown Center to go to the marathon expo.

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After spending a while (and some money) at the expo, we got some groceries and went back to my house.  Mom was driving in, and arrived just in time for spaghetti, wine, and the Royals!  After dinner, I laid out flat Renee and got all my gear out before bed.  Bed came a bit later than I would have liked, but Mom and I stayed up ’til the end of the Royals game and watched them win game 2 of the ALCS.

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Saturday morning was race morning; bright dark and early we dressed and ate a bit, and then headed to Crown Center.  We got there and parked with about an hour before the start, and stayed warm inside Crown Center.

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When it was closer to race time, we used the bathroom one last time, checked our bags, and hopped into the race corral.  Literally, we hopped the fence into the corrals, because everyone was stuffed in like sardines!

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As I was waiting in the corral, I remembered that last year, I started the race (in the dark) without my sunglasses, and by the time I wanted to wear my sunglasses, the cool air paired with my warm body made lots of fog.  So last minute, just before the start, I adjusted my sunglasses on my face.  Race start was at 7:05, and the sun comes up around 7:30, so I figured sooner or later, it would be okay, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Turns out, this was a perfect plan.  No adjusting my sunglasses later, and no fog problems!  Plus, I am positive I looked like a badass wearing my sunglasses in the dark, running a half marathon.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I brought two Gu’s with me, safely tucked away in my Running Buddy, and took the first one around mile 3, which was right at the breathtaking Liberty Memorial part of the course.

This course, by the way, is gorgeous.  This was my second time running the KC Half Marathon, and I love this course.  It’s hard and hilly, and it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous way to run KC.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

After the Liberty Memorial and Trinity Hill, we wound our way down through Westport, and onto the Plaza.

My outfit for the day included compression capris, a KC Running Co. Groupie tank top, compression arm sleeves, throw away gloves that I never threw, my visor, and a KCRC headband over my ears.  I wore my Hoka Clifton’s, had my Running Buddy Pouch, and my sunglasses that did not fog!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

We left the Plaza and ran by the JC Nichols Fountain, then ran past the Nelson Atkins Museum.  Mom paused during the run to snap a few pictures, which is why I have awesome course photos!

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Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Around mile 7.5, the marathoners split off and went further south, and just after their departure, close to mile 8, I took my second Gu.  The half marathoners started running back north, and we were over halfway done!

I was feeling really good at this point.  I hadn’t walked at all, not even through the water stops.  The water stops were about every 2 miles, and were all very well organized.  I’ll pause a moment to thank the volunteers; they were all so amazing.  The course was also lined with spectators, lots of fun signs, and they were full of cheer.  I was very thankful for the great volunteers and spectators, they definitely helped make the run easier!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Around mile 10, my problems began.  Now, before this race, the most I had run before walking in a half marathon was about 5 miles.  So to get past mile 10 was HUGE for me.  I didn’t walk a single step until mile 10.5.  Physically, I was feeling great.  My paces were on point, my feet, knees, and hips felt ok, fatigued, but ok.  My stomach was great, my water, gatorade, and gu intake was great.

But my head… I got a massive dizzy spell around mile 10, and even with slowing down through the first half of mile 10, I was still dizzy.  By mile 10.5, my steps began to falter and stagger.  I really didn’t want to pass out, so I went over to the right side of the road and slowed to a walk.  I was disappointed that I had to walk, because everything else felt great, but I was also pleased that I didn’t push through when my body was obviously telling me that something was off.

There was another water stop around mile 11, so I decided to walk to the water stop, catch my breath and slow my breathing and heart rate a bit, then grab some gatorade and hit the road again.   Well, water stop came and went, and I started running again just after mile 11.5.  So I walked just over a mile, all at once.

Once I started running again, I had just over a mile and a half until the finish.  This entire mile and a half was spent calculating what my time would be for the finish, and whether or not I would come in under my goal of 2:30.  Had I not walked, I would have been closer to 2:25, but I’m confident that I made the right choice by walking and allowing my dizziness to subside.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I came across the line and stopped my watch, and it said 2:30:00.  Like, exactly, 2:30:00.  So did I make it? What would the results ticket say? Did I get under 2:30? I had talked with my sister, when I was in Milwaukee, and told her that I was considering doing a full marathon next fall.  She told me that if I beat my previous half marathon of 2:40:42, and ran anything in the 2:3x:xx, I would have to sign up for the full next fall.

She texted me, minutes after the race, and gave me the news, I came through the line at 2:29:58.  I beat my goal by 2 seconds, and ran the most I’ve ever ran during a half marathon, and felt STRONG!  I later joked with her that since I didn’t run in the 2:3x:xx, I didn’t have to sign up for the marathon, because I ran in the 2:2x:xx.  She didn’t find it funny.  =P

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After I got my heat sheet and my medal and water, I found Amy, and we made our way to the spectators near the finish line to cheer on our friends.  We saw a few KCRC friends come through, and cheered Mom on to her finish.  We ended the day with all of us meeting our goals, Amy PR’d, I PR’d, and Mom met her time goal.  Great finishes for everyone, and lot of smiles after getting our medals.

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Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

We changed into some dry clothes, and tried to keep warm.  The sun was out, but it was a chilly morning in KC.  We got our results printed out and made our way to the food tents.

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Hamburgers, beer (not for me, ewwww), and chick fil-a made our bellies happy.  After taking some pictures at the banner, we headed hobbled to the car and made our way back to my apartment.

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Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Lots of picture sharing, instagramming, face booking, and calling family from my living room, as well as foam rolling.  Jazzy partook in the Lacrosse ball rolling.  After Amy left, Mom and I showered and I found several spots on my body that had chafed.  That was not really a fun experience in the shower.  Ouch.  Mom found some chafing too, but was smarter than me, and put Aquaphor on before her shower.  Pro Tip: put Aquaphor or vaseline on your chafed areas before showering!

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Later in the afternoon, Mom and I went to Joe’s KC for BBQ, and watched the Royals game.  On our way home after stopping at Scheel’s, we went to Yogurtini, and ate it at home after changing into PJ’s.

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Bed was early on Saturday night.  Sunday morning, we ran a couple miles on the trails with Amy, to shake out our legs, which felt really good.  Then we went to yoga at Lululemon with Maylo to stretch everything out.

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Half marathon #6 is in the books, and it was really and truly a great half marathon.  I enjoyed the entire weekend, the pasta dinner, the race, the relaxing afternoon on Saturday, followed by a great Sunday.  Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I finished the KC Half Marathon and met two goals in the process: I finished in one piece, and I finished with a PR and under my time goal of 2:30:00.  I wasn’t able to finish without having to walk, but I was very pleased with my performance, and know I can run the whole thing without walking.

I’ve also committed myself to the KC Marathon next fall.  The full marathon!  Read about that decision here.  It’s going to be one heck of a ride!  Congratulations to all my friends who did the KC Half and Full on Saturday, I’m so incredibly proud of everyone!!