Category Archives: Race Review

Richmond Marathon

Cliff Notes: I did 9+1 in 2011 to have guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon. I started training in the summer. I became much faster than I used to be. I fractured my foot. I was angry at everyone. I got better. I told everyone I would be take it easy during the NYCM. I starting training again (18 miles, Ragnar Relay Ultra, 20 miles, Half Marathon PR). I tapered. Hurricane Sandy ruined lives. NYC Marathon was canceled. I didn’t care. I ran the Richmond Marathon.

Ashley version: I found out the NYC Marathon was canceled while I was at the expo (after volunteering all day). I left with Beth, drank about 10 margaritas and signed up for the Richmond Marathon.

This marathon involved a road trip, with an unreal amount of traffic. Note: if you are running a marathon, do not drive 8+ hours the day before. When we finally got to Richmond (Laura, Jess, Christy, Fiona and I) we went to the expo to grab our packets.

Next up, Katherine’s house. She went out of her way to make us all feel welcome and host a pre-race dinner! We talked about the course and laughed a lot! It was amazing and I am very appreciative. After dinner, we drove to Katie’s parents house in Richmond and bombarded the basement when Leticia, Christine and Katie were already sleeping. It was getting late and I figured a great way to get to know Katie’s mom was to clog the toilet (just pee, I swear). Next was plunging, cursing, temporary tattoo application, shirt decoration, pass out, wake up, eat peanut butter, drink coffee, forget things I need for the race, get puffy paint all over everyone’s race outfit because it didn’t dry, take pictures, dance to Gangnam Style, start race.

I think I need a bigger pair of shorts, or a smaller ass.

I ran the first 17 miles with Katie and Christy (Fiona took off around Mile 3). It was a comfortable pace. We chatted, we met other NYCM runners and Richmond runners, we laughed, we passed the 4 hour pace group and swore they wouldn’t pass us for the rest of the race, we cursed at the unexpected nowhere near flat course, we saw Bart Yasso cheering on the sidelines. I thought about all of the destruction near my hometown. I dedicated each mile to a town on the Jersey Shore. I wanted to be strong for my hometown. Those miles went by so fast I am pretty sure I blacked out.

I picked up the pace a bit around 17.5 (I think). I waved a quick goodbye to the ladies, turned my music up and continued at a pace that felt comfortable.

Then Mile 22 happened. I was alone. I hate running alone because I am my own worst enemy. I did a full body check. How was my breathing? Good. How did my legs feel? Relatively ok, good enough to keep running for sure. Then I hit a water stop, and STOPPED. I walked (even though I told myself that I didn’t need to). I knew it would be hard to keep going afterwards but I couldn’t stop myself. For the next 3 miles, it was the same story. Run, curse, talk down to myself, tell myself I should stop, tell myself I will never be able to finish. I even drank beer some college kids were offering. That is a first. I figured anything would make me feel better than I had at that moment.

Once I passed the mile marker for Mile 25, I told myself to suck it up. I am going to finish and finish strong. I ran the last 1.2 miles for Point Pleasant. I thought about my childhood memories and about how grateful I am. I pushed forward. The last half mile or so was a very welcomed downhill. The last hundred feet or so was a serious freaking decline and I was LUCKY that I did not faceplant or somersault down it and over the finish line.

Thank you Dori for capturing me on my feet!

I finished.

Garmin stats: 

Official Stats: 3:57:40. PR by 1 minute and 1 second.

I hung out at finish line and got yelled at for not moving but stayed and waited for Christy, who dominated the race and PR’d by over 2 minutes! We walked through the finisher’s chute to get our medals.

5 seconds later, the medal man took away our medals because our bibs had a blue X and our medals we be mailed to us. I threatened to run away with it but he said he could catch me since I just ran a marathon and all. He was right, I gave it back.

The finish area was great. Bagels, massages, smoothies and beer. I got my first post-race massage from a wonderful woman who kneaded out the legitimate knots in my thighs. I’m sure by the way I was talking to her she thought I was trying to pick her up. We got together with all of #TeamRichmond for a serious photoshoot.

Seeing this flag throughout the course was so wonderful.

Jess in front, Laura, Christy, Meggie, Gia and I

PR City

Meggie and I tatted up

All pics courtesy of Katherine.

Crossed the half at the same time 🙂

Photo courtesy of Dori

After we gathered our crew (hours later) we met the #runchat men and laughed (and cried a little, I think) over the whole NYCM to Richmond experience.

Then I ate and drank (until…still doing it).

Exciting things: there were a lot of PRs, there was a first marathon, there was a BQ. Most importantly, there was friendship. We went through the last few weeks together and I appreciate these ladies more than I could say. I also appreciate Richmond. They accepted us and welcomed us and the course was beautiful and challenging. It was an amazing experience.

Shitty things: I can’t help but think I could have done better. I walked when I did not have to and did not put the effort into the race (at the end) that I know I could have.

A PR is a PR and I am happy. In line with most marathoners, I am craving more. Will I do another race sooner rather than later? I am still unsure. We shall see.

Want some more #TeamRichmond race recaps?

JessMeggie, Leticia, Christy, Fiona

Advertisements

ING Hartford Half Marathon–or as I call it, PR City

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

Many months back, some of my girlfriends from college and I decided that our nice October weekend get-together should include running a half marathon. My friend Brianna lives in (or around) the West Hartford, CT area so a handful of us traveled from NY, CT and MA to spend the weekend together.

During the lovely Friday evening train from NYC ride with my friend Jessica, I discussed my half marathon fears and goals (A, B and C) over 16oz Bud Lights. Side note: I love train beers ($2.75 for 16oz = cheapest in Manhattan). You catch me at the Penn Station beer stand from now on. Anyway, I disclosed to her that my C goal was around my current PR time of 1:50, B was 1:48ish and A goal was 1:45. I said that and kind of laughed because I did not think it was doable (ahem, that’s what B goals are for). We ended up going out to dinner and I had ANOTHER beer and a giant plate of pasta with marinara sauce. Simple and easy on the belly.

Friday had involved some panicking. I checked the weather for Saturday and saw 56 degrees. I didn’t think about what temp is would be from 6-10 AM.  Hourly forecast: 29 degrees at start of race at 8am, 34 degrees at finish at 10am. Yikes. THANK GOD I packed throwaways, my new Lululemon gloves and a headband.

Saturday morning I woke up, stretched, foam rolled, ate (half bagel with peanut butter), drank coffee and then made everyone late because I relaxed for so long that when it was time to go none of my stuff was together Smile Shocker.

Hartford3Me, Bri (who doesn’t usually stand like that) and Jess

We drove 15 minutes to the start area (which was set up to be a mini-expo/post-race party) and sat in the car for about 30 minutes to stay warm. What goes on in my head before a race like this? Honestly, nothing. I didn’t think about the race at all (or the weather) and I pretended I was just in the car dancing to Britney Spears with my friends.

I drank my usual 5 Hour Energy and we walked to the crowded start (with Bruce Springsteen blasting in my headphones). The announcer did a great job of pumping everyone up and we waited outside the corrals until we could pop in.

Hartford1

Once it was our time to go, I stripped down to my race out (+ a long sleeve tech shirt) and fumbled around with my iphone, headphones and Garmin. Another shocker.

The race started in front of the CT State Capitol. It was extra crowded during the first mile so I tried my best to move swiftly around others (I told myself before the race a 9ish minute first mile is OK). The roads widened for a while and I was able to IMMEDIATELY fall into a groove. Jackpot.

Mile 1: 8:32

From Mile 2-8, (as the website states) the course “tours attractive sections and neighborhoods of Hartford and West Hartford.” I saw my friends screaming their faces off and I screamed, waved and threw them my long sleeve shirt. I was settled in a perfectly comfortable pace and was REALLY enjoying my playlist. In the morning I stuffed a box of raisins in my sports bra for fuel and I took my first bit at mile 5.5. It was an enjoyable snack and I dumped them right in my mouth from the box. I was going to toss them but I figured they weren’t bothering me so back in the bra they went.

I passed through the halfway point around 54 minutes. This was the first time I actually thought about my finish time. My thoughts: “Maintain this pace, finish around 1:47-1:48.”

Mile 2-8: 8:03, 8:01, 8:13, 8:08, 8:03, 7:57, 8:06

Miles 9-10 were in Elizabeth Park. It was a nice change of scenery and the foliage was very pretty! That word drop was for you Laura (and Kara)! Thoughts during Mile 9-10: “Can you maintain this pace? Do you have another kick in you? Yes. OK. Let’s go. This is your race. You ARE strong enough to do this. Do NOT slow down, you are comfortable at this pace. DO NOT SLOW DOWN. BE STRONG, RUN STRONG.” Basically a huge self-pep talk (also channeling Jocelyn’s thought process)!

Miles 9-10: 8:05, 7:55

I hit 10 miles around 1:22. At that moment, I knew I was going to PR. I needed to get through one 5k (without tripping this time) at the same pace. I had some more raisins and tossed the rest. I told myself I could slow down a bit to save some energy and quickly wiped those thoughts out of my head and decided to speed up instead. I also cheated and used the very welcomed downhill to start that momentum.

hartfordelevation

My only thoughts during the last 5k were:

  • I’m so happy I’m wearing all yellow. Yellow is meant for PRs.
  • This fucking playlist is awesome. Thank you Vegas for helping me create it.
  • I wonder why I haven’t raced a half marathon since April 2011. I love this distance.
  • HOLY SHIT, do I want to/can I race the NYCM?
  • I love running in this weather.
  • I fucking love my outfit.

I crossed the finish line and tripped over my headphones (remember the fumbling, I guess I didn’t do so well with their storage during the race). We can only hope Brightroom got a shot of my “holy shit I just ran a monster PR turned holy shit I just almost fell” finish.

Miles 11-13.1: 7:49, 7:35, 7:35, .whatever 7:12

Official Finish Time: 1:45:38

hartfordofficialfinish

Garmin Splits:

hartfordgarminsplits

I was thrilled. I’m still thrilled.

Hartford4

Hartford5Post race UFO White. HEAVEN.

My main (and constant) thought leading up to the race was, “I don’t think I can run 8:00/mi for an entire half marathon.” Example:

hartfordconvostacy

Thank you Stacy. You were right. I owe you a drink.

The reason for my mental confusion: My NYCM training in the weeks leading up to the half were intense. I ran long each week – distance, check.

Speed? Not even close. I had not (and still haven’t) done any speedwork since the week before I was put in that damn walking boot. So what happened?

Everything lined up for me during this race. The weather (although cold, was very comfortable to run in) and my fueling were obvious factors. My passion for the sport came out during this race. I wanted to be out there and run a strong race. My mind is in a better place than it was a month ago or 2 months ago and even than before I got hurt. This race reminded me that hard work and dedication coupled with a strong heart WILL inevitably lead you to accomplishments.

The best thing I got out of this race: confidence. I spent a lot of weeks really down on myself for not being able to run. I worked my way back into the distances the best that I could. It turns out, my body (and mind) needed to rest (for 5 weeks) in order to start working properly again.

Moving forward: No more “I don’t think I can run that pace for …… (insert distance here).”  Strictly positive thoughts helped me through this one. Give it a try!

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks – Leg 3

Leg 1 Review – rain, cold, tears, lost friends.

Leg 2 Review – happiness, joy, speed, teamwork, cracked out, I love running!

A few photos from my girls during the Leg 2 night runs…

Erin won a prize after completely the HARDEST leg! Chyea

We all crushed our second leg. I cannot even describe how proud I am of the girls in our van. We passed the bracelet off to Lora so they could take over around 1ish am (maybe?), seriously pounded some pasta at the exchange and drove to the next major exchange in order to get some freaking sleep.

Sleep (n): A natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body

What I did: Roll around in the front seat of the RAV, kick the radio 73 times, jolt up in the seat to see what time it is, text Lora every 15 minutes to see when they would be there to make sure I was ready to run, pass out for an hour so when they did get there at 4:30 am, I was completely unprepared, had to search for the bathroom, change, put contacts in and have a panic attack.

I got dressed in anything neon yellow (so cars, deer and/or bears could see me coming) that I had (which happened to all be from Lululemon). I was so delirious, I mumbled something incoherent to the Ragnar worker and to the girls and I took off into the night.

YIKES

Leg 3: 9.6 mi, 1:36 (10:00/mi avg – hill walking)

I didn’t look at the race map before starting this leg. I actually didn’t look at anything except Erin telling me to calm the F down. I got a nice surprise when I turned the corner off the “main” road onto a pitch black side street directly up a mountain. I had about three feet of visibility with my headlamp due to the rain coming down. I was already exhausted at one mile in.

The girls drove along side of me for a while then would drive in front of me to light up the road a bit. It helped squash my fears that an axe murderer or bear was going to kill me. My stomach was not in a good place and I almost threw up and continuously had to walk up the big hills. When we passed the “One Mile Left” sign for the first portion of the run, it hit me that I only had to run FIVE more miles and I was going to be done with Ragnar. An ULTRA Ragnar. There were other vans driving by (although I only saw one runner during this portion of the leg) so I parted ways with the girls for a little while, put my music on and DUG DEEP.

The second portion of the run was 4.1 miles (labeled easy by the Ragnar folks) so I worked hard and clocked miles all under 9:00. My goal was to finish strong! Of course there was no “One Mile Left” sign for the second portion so my mind wandered into BAD territory thinking I was going to have to run well into the next week in order to finish. I pushed forward and saw the Ragnar support staff and the orange flags for the exchange! I WAS THE HAPPIEST PERSON EVER!

PURE JOY. RAGNAR COMPLETE.

I got a GINORMOUS hug from Erin and we sent her on her final leg while I chugged water and sat in the back of the car without pants on for about 30 minutes.

More pics from the girls KILLING their final legs (early morning into dawn)!

RUNNING ISN’T ENOUGH FOR ERIN

RAGNAR DONE! Let’s jump so high and make Ashley jealous!

SO FAST. Running to the free pizza.

I am beyond proud of all of us, and obviously the girls in Van 2 (I just don’t have pictures of them). We went to the final exchange to wait for the other van to run their final legs and slept in the car while snuggling bags of candy corn pumpkins and free pizza we got from some amazing Englishman.

The wake-up call resulted in the follow outfit decision:

Awesome sidenote: Lora made these skirts

Dana killed her final leg and we had an epic run through the finish line (with rose petals and chanting). Celebrations were in order.

Olympic ski jumps in the background. Pretty sweet.

VAN 1

VAN 2

ULTRA RUNNERS!

Beers from Lake Placid Brewery 🙂

I learned a lot, and experienced many emotions. This relay helped me regain confidence that I can cover some serious distance (at a respectable pace) just 3 weeks after starting to run again after being injured. I have no doubt in my mind that I will be able to complete the NYC Marathon (for enjoyment, not time).

BE STRONG. RUN STRONG.

Maids of Dishonor Leg 3 Recaps!

Erin

Lora

Ragnar Adirondacks Relay – Leg 2

Leg 1 Recap – If you didn’t read, I ran in the rain, my friends got lost. It was cold. It sucked ass.

All of the ladies in Van 1 also ran in the rain (champs). Before it was time for Lora (first runner of Van 2) to take on a hefty 15 miles, she took a minute to dance with these buttcheeks.

Lora dancing with a team who probably chaffed A LOT

When Van 2 was running their first legs, we decided it was time to decorate the RAV….

Five seconds after we were done it started raining again and our car looked like we dumped Pepto all over it. Oh well, it was a good effort.

We drove to the next major exchange so we could relax, not sleep, but eat, get out of the car and walk around a bit! Exchange 12 was at Lake George and it was freaking beautiful! We were shacked up at a beach club and already relatively cracked out.

I was in straight panic mode from the moment we got there about my next run. I ate. Panicked. Ate again. Took pictures….

Ate again. Had a 5 hour energy (my key to success) and it was time to go!

Meeting Dana for the slap bracelet exchange!

Leg 2: 11.9 mi, 1:48 (9:04/mi avg)

Outfit: Under Armour Tee, Lululemon Speed Short, Pro Compression USA Socks, Mizuno Elixirs (New and perfect shoe)! and RAGNAR TATS

I started this run around 5:30 pm on Friday. I felt great and I was happy to be running WITHOUT RAIN!

The first portion of my run was along side Lake George (with van support, WINNER)! The girls leapfrogged me and gave me water a few times. It was perfect. I wish I had that on all runs.

The second part of the run was tough (and in the dark, and up the mountain, but with some streetlights). I climbed a significant number of hills but still felt strong. The only scary part was when I would climb a hill and meet an oncoming car at the top (there was a 3 inch shoulder for me to move into when this happened, 2977 times).

The best part of the run? I looked at my Garmin, saw there was about a 5k left and said out loud to myself (I didn’t see any other runners during this run, go figure) “WOOHOO 5k left!!!!” and then I tripped in a pothole, rolled my ankle on my recently injured foot, fell into a guard rail and hit the pavement hard. I got up, shook it off, walked for a minute to see how I felt (and to see if my foot was needed to be put into a bright pink hard cast) and realized I was completely fine so I took off running! I still cannot believe I do not have a mark on me from that fall. Straight Miracle.

I felt insanely strong during the entire run. I maintained an average of 8:30-8:50 pace for the entire time unit the last half mile where I had to walk up a serious mountain. There was no way my quads would have made it and my walking speed would have been much faster than my running.

When I gave them my team number (about a hundred feet before the exchange, to get the next runner ready) I heard Erin scream! I sprinted to the finish and gave her a big hug! What a difference from the first leg. THIS FEELING is what RAGNAR is about. HELL YES.

Leg 3 Recap (Tour of the mountains in the pitch black alone) coming tomorrow!

Maids of Dishonor Leg 2 Recaps!

Lora

Erin 

 

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks – Leg 1

The last I left you lovely people, I was explaining how I barely spoke to anyone about Ragnar because I was petrified about running 32.8 miles.

We drove up to Saratoga (start of the relay) on Thursday night after work in a hot ass Toyota RAV 4 rental car (I’m still upset about parting with it after 24 less-than-fresh hours in it). We divied out all of our amazing swag from our sponsors and I rolled around and pretended to sleep (scared, again).

5:30 am came too quickly and with the early hour came the POURING RAIN.

VAN 1 goodness! Laura, Kara, Erin and Me! 

Maids of Dishonor!

We went to the start, went through the safety talk and it was time to start. I was in Van 1 with Erin, Kara and Laura!! Van 2 included Lora, Annie, Susan and Dayna!

Team photo before the start! Erin, Susan, Dayna, Lora, Annie, Me, Kara and Laura

Let’s GO!

Outfit 1: Bondi Band Headband, Running Skirts, Pro Compression Socks! Also wore a jacket and gloves that made me sweat to death.

Leg 1: 11.5 mi, 1:40 (8:42/mi avg)

I started off quick, not ready, and confused. It was pouring and it was not going to stop. I ran a few miles before I decided to start chatting with some other runners. I met some awesome women who have done other Ragnars and who were training for marathons!

Sorry ladies of Van 1, but I am going to discuss what happened during my leg. I came up the first exchange (5.3 mi) expecting to see my friends (and needing water) and also wondering why I hadn’t seen them already. I did not see them and kept running. I stayed focused on the AWESOME view of Lake George rather than my thirst and the weather (I had to take a mental picture because it was raining too hard for me to take my cell phone out to take a picture).

I was about 8 miles in when I tried to call the girls to see where they were. Of course there was shitty cell service and the rain fucked up my phone. I yelled into the phone that they sucked as teammates (I’m not sure that they heard so if they didn’t, sorry about that). I tried to suck it up, put my headphones in and finish the run strong but because my phone was broken (the rain ruined the headphones and the sound in general) the music died out in one minute. I could not believe that I had to talk out loud to myself in my first leg and had to dig deep to get through my first leg!

I got through the mileage and to the exchange and was greeted by no one. I stood on the opposite side of the street of the vans for about 15 minutes before the woman working the exchange would even let me cross the street (we weren’t allowed to cross without the flags we were given, which were in the car). I was freezing and couldn’t get in touch with anyone. I was crying so another team let me get in their van and gave me water and Gatorade and used their phone to call the girls (I felt homeless lol). When I got in touch with them I accidentally cursed at them a lot (I didn’t want to or mean to but I was cold and furious). Turns out they had gotten lost during my run and when they found their way they accidentally went to the next exchange and were waiting there for a while. Mistakes happen, I understand. I just wish it didn’t happen in the freezing rain when I had no shelter.

First run = not the best experience. We had about a 40 minute delay by the time I was able to pass off the stellar slap bracelet to Erin. I was a bitch for about 20-25 more minutes (I couldn’t help it). I wanted to cheer for my teammates so I knew I had to get the f over it and I did (besides a few snide comments throughout the day), sorry again.

I am happy I was able to maintain a good pace for my first run in a downpour! I am not happy that this little mishap happened, but I am almost positive it is what drove us all (in Van 1) to perform the way we did (to our absolute maximum abilities) for the rest of the relay!

Leg 2 recap tomorrow!

Maids of Dishonor Leg 1 Recaps!

Lora

Erin

Kara