Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Umstead 100 mile list

Here is a list of items I have put into my two drop bags...Basically both of my drop bags have identical items within them but the main aid station has my "favorites". For example, I have clothing that it more comfortable, is easier to get into/out of and even clothing that I consider "lucky". In this case, my preferred outfit is at the main aid station.

My expectation is that during major wardrobe changes, I will plan to be at the main aid station (it is in a building, there is a real floor, not dirt and it is slightly heated and not exposed to weather). Of course I will be open to doing stuff at the second aid station because the stupidest thing I did my first Umstead was ignore a foot issue that got really horrible as I went from Aid Station 2 back to the main aid station (unfortunately a volunteer suggested incorrectly that my feet were fine and I could not bend down to see that they looked like hamburger meat...5 miles later I had blisters over blisters and pus oozing in places pus does not belong!)

Of course this list excludes my outfit however, this will consist of my usual seamless bra and underpants covered by a vibrant pink tank with my name on it and a matching marathon girl skirt, On my feet I will have my asics gel kayano shoes, drymax socks and hawaiin themed gaiters. If it is chilly of course I will also be wearing pant, a jacket and perhaps a thermal shirt. My definition of chilly is anything below about 72 degrees:-).

For those of you running Umstead (or any other endurance event). Feel free to poach this list (and if you notice anything is missing of course feel free to tell me, ASAP!)

Shoe Change
Drymax socks
Wet Weather
Rain Hat
Seal Skinz
Cold Weather
Thick shirt
Thick pants
Ipod #2
Garmin #2
Sunny Weather
Baseball hat
Night Time
Sparkeley Fanny Pack
Marathon Bar
Meds pack
Spare Battery
Wet wipes
Misc Items
Wet Wipes
Spare Water Bottle
Prescription Glasses
Contact holder
Foot Powder
Ginger Chews
Food Treats
Marathon Bars
Bagged Candy
Bagged Goldfish
Garmin #2
Ipod #2
Cell phone
Spare Batteries

Last Minute Preparations for Umstead 100 mile 2009: And a few more pictures from 2007

Tristan and Gilligan at Umstead in 2007. Gilligan you can observe was ensuring he stayed off his feet in preparation of doing about 100 meters on Saturday (actually Tristan and Gilligan went hiking somewhere but I still have no idea where it was)
Before the race, with the sign. I was really nervous because in 2006 this was my first 100. Now I am really nervous because I know what to expect and what can go wrong!

With my friend Mike L who I had met during the 24 hour Race Around the Lake the summer of 2006. He is really nice. We saw each other earlier this year at Fla. during the Disney Marathon

With Sally, the main aid station captain. She is really nice and very encouraging!

Late in the afternoon the first day. By this time I was starting to get a bit tired and because it was during a significant drought I was getting dusty and dirty. For those of you who read my blog last Aug/Sept, you will recall I REALLY hate dirt (to the extent that it took me 20 minutes in a transition area in a triathlon to clean up my feet--and I see nothing wrong with this by the way!)

The Umstead 100 mile endurance run is just 3 days away. Today is my last run before the race. Then I get a few days off (Wahoo!). It is a beautiful sunny spring day here in the suburbs of DC. The tree's, flowers and shrubs are starting to bloom.

I have trained pretty hard for Umstead this year. I ran 8 marathons since the start of the year. Most of these events I extended by a few miles after I finish to build up my mileage. I also tried to run at least 4 or 5 days a week, typically around 50 or so miles. Many weeks I also did hillwork as well as walks and hikes to extend my time on feet.

I am looking forward to Umstead because I will get to see lots of friends including: Emmy (Umstead 2008 & VT100 2008, 24 hour race around the lake 2006 and 2007), Frankie (Rocky Raccoon 50), Rob (VT100 and Umstead 2007 & 2008), Kris W (Umstead 2007 and VT100 '08), Anthony (RR100, VT100 and Umstead), Frank (VT100, 24 hour race around the lake), Angela (many marathons), as well as many others.

The weather looks perfect for this weekend at Umstead (low/mid-70's and sunny). And my pacers are sort of lined up (and of course I will partake in volunteer pacers). Cindy, my sister might pace me my 5th lap (mile 50-62.5) and Tristan, my husband is looking to pace me my 8th lap (mile 88-100), although he may have Cindy be his back up if his leg/knee acts up. As long as the weather prediction continues to be good, Gilligan, our dog is looking forward to spectating on occasion throughout the race.

I know it will be tough to run and complete Umstead 100, but I know what it takes to finish it and be happy at the finish. I just need to run (or shuffle, at the end) smart and focus on staying happy and healthy throughout my ~30 hour journey.

RunTerra 8 km Race

At the start, notice the bus that is stuck in the mud. Since it rained 2 days straight in Gaithersburg, the ground was pretty soaked.

The front runners and runners ahead of me in an out and back section by mile 2 (for me, 4 for the front runners) This course is very pretty and several times you get to see other runners during out and back sections.
Runners finishing the quarter mile loop by mile 3. In this picture, I have not started the loop yet, but clearly I am in no hurry.

Along the course by Clopper Lake (this is a pretty lake when it is sunny). On a gloomy day, it is perhaps less so (although luckily during the race I got warmer and warmer...at the start I thought I would freeze to death and had all sorts of layers including two black plastic bags as well as a jacket, a thermal half zip, a light half zip, a long sleeve shirt, t-shirt and tank...as for bottoms, I had two pairs of pants and it was about 50 degrees for the start and the finish of the race. I am a pathetic cold sissy!

Taking a moment to take a self-portrait while approaching the finish. I was pretty pleased when I saw the finish time of just over 50 minutes. I think this time might be a PR for a 8 km distance for me (on a hilly course no less). I have run the Rockville Twilighter 8 km several times, but I think I always finished in over an hour.

This past Sunday I ran the inaguaral RunTerra 8km race. This was my final race before the Umstead 100 mile run. It was a local race that initially was going to be just 2 miles from my house (at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds). It was relocated to Seneca Creek State Park a different local park. Because of this move, runners had the opportunity to take buses to and from the race venue. I did not take the bus there, but I did take the bus back to the fairground (then later ran home). It seems the buses did have some snafu's including one bus that went on an expedition around Montgomery County before getting to the race and another bus that got stuck in some mud and needed a backhoe to tug it out while the runners were on the course.

Regardless of these glitches and moderately nasty weather, I think the race was well run and alot of fun. During packet pick up I ran into my friend Jenn G (my co-chauffer to the National Marathon), who was exhibiting for "Girls on the Run" but she was not going to run the race. In fact I knew only about 3 other runners and in fact I did not know their names (just recognized their faces). During the race I chatted briefly with a bunch of runners and enjoyed myself immensely.

The RunTerra 8km travels along a variety of roads in Seneca Creek State Park by Clopper Lake. The course does several out and backs, which gives all runners the opportunity to see the front runners as well as the stragglers. In fact early on I was that last place person. The course is not closed to traffic however there were no cars on the course. The lack of cars was probably caused by the constant drizzle during the majority of the race.

I felt really good during the race and was really pleased with my ~50 minute 8km race. I started off slow, but then slowly picked up the pace. Hopefully this little bit of speedwork does not come back to haunt me next week during the Umstead 100 miler.

After the race, I took the bus back to the Fairgrounds went through the Green EXPO briefly and then hung out and chatted with other runners. During the award ceremony and raffles I ended up chatting with a fellow Fleet Feet runner, Michelle and her friend Jordan (who had finished second in the men's division). I ended up winning a raffle for some iron on reflective gear that says:"See Me Run", which I will put on one of my jackets.

I then ran home. One of the "swag" items for this race was a sapling planted in honor of each runner. This and the fact that the race organizers had utilized carbon offsets for energy used in this race attracted me to this race. In the evening, I finally decided where my sapling should be planted (Vermont) and went online to do this. I am unsure exactly where my plant will be (or even what kind it will be) but hope someday I will be able to visit her.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Umstead 100: One week to go Random Musings and a few pictures from 2007

The Umstead 100 mile race has a special place in my heart. It was my first 100 mile event and while throughout the race I was not sure I was going to finish in the alotted amount of time, I knew I was going to try my hardest.

I ended up finishing dead last for 2007 in 29 hours and 36 minutes (24 minutes ahead of the 30 hour deadline). By the finish I was completely exhausted, in more pain then I have ever been in before or since and ready to sign up for the next year (okay, I'll be honest that took me about 4 hours post race to achieve!)

I learned alot about myself during the race and was really proud of this achievement. To this day I always wear my 100 miler pendant with pride. The only times I have removed this is when my initial necklace broke (but some string saved the day), and recently when I had my thyroid scan. I would conjecture in life the only two items I really would be distressed about losing are my wedding ring and my Umstead necklace. Since April 1, 2006, my necklace has taken the same journey in life I have experiencing both the ups and down. Of course my engagement ring has been a "hitchhiker" since June 2000. We too, have had some good times--and one brief separation due to my apparent inability to treat jewelry gently (in my defense I kind of mangle my body just as bad with stumbles, falls and ripping somewhat essential pieces off through no fault of their own...for example, I curently have only half a thumbnail thanks to a recaltratant door that refused to open without being turned first...how outrageous eh??).

Well, back to positive thoughts. Below you can see some pictures from 2007. Sadly in 2008 because of the 24 hours of rain (out of 28.5 hours on the course), I have very few pictures and the few I do have are of very poor quality! But alas, luckily in 2007, the weather was perfect in my world. Close to 80 and Sunny.

About to finish my first 100 mile. Boy do I look tired! And of course in my husband tradition of snapping pictures with exposed undergarments, you can actually get a quick peak at my Moving Comfort Seamless Underpants above my skirt and below my sparkeley waterbottle...Tristan really needs to take a glance at the scene he is photographing because I just don't think people want to see my unmentionables.

Gilligan and Tristan greeting me at the second aid station. This picture provides a typical view of the course surface. It is pretty wide and very groomed. Thus you can sort of close your eyes at night and just try to run straight. Seriously I ran many miles with one or the other (or sometimes both) eyes shut.

A sign my friend Julie made that I could see 2 times every lap. It was really nice of her to make it and nice of my husband to put it out. I became slightly famous during the race because I had my name on my shirt and this sign. Thus people rightly guessed it was for me. This sign made me really happy. It provided encouragement for the entire race and was so colorful, vibrant and energetic, which is exactly what I needed during my last several laps late at night and early the next morning.

It is less than 7 days until Umstead 100 mile. I am really nervous but know I have done the best training I could do considering my professional life, personal life and even the weather.

I have been starting to pack including for pre-race, post race and of course drop bags. I have several pacers/crew/chaffeurs arranged including my husband, my sister and hopefully a friend from the statistics workshop I am arranging.

Tristan, my husband continues to fight a nagging knee injury/pain so may not even pace me a full lap, Cindy, my sister has committed to a full lap. Tristan of course will be driving me to the race and home after the race. Thursday night we will continue our tradition of staying with his father in Richmond and Friday we will stay at the LaQuinta. So far the weather is looking good, so we likely will be taking Gilligan with us.

As I get ready for the race, here is some advice I would share with others who are going to be running a 100 mile. My biggest advice is:

1) DON'T read the ZODIAC killer on the trip to the race...seriously it is not a good motivational pre-read (well unless you want to scare the crap out of yourself in the middle of the woods about 2 in the morning!)

2) Make sure your pacer is appropriately dressed. If they do not have on adequate layers or raingear you either will have to share your gear with them (and perhaps be cold/wet yourself) or else they might want to make you go fast to get warm.

3) Make sure your crew knows explicitly what gear you need. Having recieved "flip flops" at mile 98 during my first Umstead 100 miler when I wanted Teva Support Sandals (which then I foolishly put on from mile 98 to mile 98.1) I now know to make sure items are clearly marked (oh yeah and now my husband knows the difference between flip flops, sandals and other items...I also have taught him that magenta and fuscia are two different colors, my helpful advice know no bounds!)

4) Take care of your feet before small problems become HUGE problems. This year my goal is to change out my shoes at mile 62 and my socks at mile 88. Of course this timing is very flexible, which leads to my final advice:

5) Have a plan for your race (figure out your needs, the logical timing of these needs and plan accordingly). I have an EXCEL spreadsheet that lists out what I might need at various times (shoes, socks, gaiters for shoe change time; sunglasses, baseball cap during the day and thermal pants, shirts, jackets, headlamps and flashlights at night) and each of these items are available within ziplocs in my drop bags.
Good luck to all who are competing in Umstead 100...now it's time to cram (or is it taper?...I can never get them right, aarggh:-)

Savoring the memories

Gilligan's trip to Bruster's last week...he loves Brusters because they give a free doggie sundae to well behaved dogs like Gilligan. We typically go 2 or 3 times a month during the summer, right after the Fleet Feet Fun run

About to order a Banana Split because on thursdays it's half price banana split night if you bring your own banana, yum!

Gilligan saying "Thank you" for his doggie Sundae!

Gilligan enjoying his doggie sundae

Enjoying his freebie doggie sundae! Gilligan likes to take his time eating his sundae. This is fine when it is 80 degree's out but you will notice this trip to Brusters, both Tristan and I had fairly thick winter clothing on.

Last week I attended a small workshop (The Federal Mentoring Roundtable) which was really interesting and refreshing. As a statistician my job is not necessarily very exciting. In fact most days I sit quietly in my office reading items, writing reviews and analyzing data. But the day I attended this workshop was special because I got to interact with people!

One of the topics was "Savor the Moment". There were several discussion points and suggestions within this seminar which really made alot of sense to me.

1) Take pictures of everything! I try to live out this suggestion in my races because I never know when my last race will be (particularly since my knee that suffered the brunt of my car accident injury many years ago could easily get re-agitated). And knowing that I may never travel/do certain races again creating a photo essay of my experience helps me to remember races, friends, experiences as though they just happened.

2) Take time to savor, reflect and reward... Savor every experience and live in the moment. Sometimes I envy my dog, Gilligan because he lives in the moment. It may be a good moment, it may be a bad moment, but regardless he is living it (sadly without wild abandon but that is because he is lazy). Again in running I do really try to live out this philosophy and appreciate the journey.

3) Live like there is no tommorrow...So often in life we are held back because of proper decorum. But people who do what they like, like what they do and live like there is no tommorrow probably have the greatest satisfaction. Once in a while I act in a way with wild abandon, but often my filters prevent me from fully engaging. Marathons and Ultra's are one of the times I feel fully engaged...In fact I may have embarrassed both my sister and my husband at the end of the JFK50 mile in 2008 when I was dancing and cheering on the last few runners finishing within the time limit of 7 p.m. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and so far a video of my antics has not showed up on "youtube":-)

In the next week I will have more time because I need to taper a bit for Umstead. With this time I hope I can live out some of these suggestions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

After the National Marathon pictures part 3

At the Washington Monument. This picture makes me look tall doesn't it...I'm only about 3 inches shorter then the Washington Monument!

In front of the White House. I love democracy!

A witness to a police sting...it was a bunch of skateboarders who got snagged in front of the National Theater.
In fact this was my second police operation that I witnessed during National Marathon day. During the race, there seemed to what I percieved to be a drug bust right before we got to the National Stadium. There were a bunch of cops, an empty stretcher and a guy on the ground with handcuffs on. I tried to discretely take a picture (like this one) but did a pretty bad job. For this abbreviated "cops" episode I was stuck at a traffic light and even I am not stupid enough to jay walk right in front of cops!

After the National Marathon post race pictures part II

With a cute dog after the race as I walked from RFK Stadium to the Mall. This section (I think they call this section "South capitol") was really cute. This was a bookstore.

With a floral bouquet I had noticed from the course. It was very pretty and in fact was real (it was a floral "Market". Inside was similar to a European cafe/store with just the basics and a variety of food.
With the "Typewriter Eraser" at the sculpture garden. Notice there is a Cherry Blossom Tree in full bloom. There were many Cherry Blossoms in bloom sporadically in DC.

With a "Peta" Fish. They were handing out brochures about the issues related to "farm" raised fish and overfishing. Both of which are definitely potential issues. Sadly I tried to be a vegetarian in college for about 6 months but really had issues with respect to consuming adequate protein. I now eat only animals that are not too cute or too ugly (thus chicken, ostrich, turkey, fish and seafood can be on my plate but I will not touch: pigs, cows, sheep, goat...I also will not eat really ugly animals--what if it is catching? so this includes: eel, snake, squid, etc.). Oh yeah, but I will eat animals that would consider me dinner or would attack me (ex., Bison and Alligator). Perhaps this is TMI, but at least now if you ever invite me over for dinner you know what I would scarf down:-)

With the Lincoln Memorial. I am glad in this picture you cannot see how sunburned I am. Today is Thursday and my face is still peeling. And my husband when he returned from a trip to New Hampshire, kept calling me Lobster-face!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After the National Marathon- A photo essay part I

After the National Marathon on Saturday, I spent a bit of time wandering around aimlessly in DC. This served two purposes. It got me my last extensive "time on feet" before Umstead 100 miler and gave me the chance to walk around DC and appreciate all the various historic landmarks.

DC is a beautiful city with so many things to do and see. And it was a beautiful day to do so. I walked from RFK Stadium to the National Mall. At the National Mall I went into the Botanical Gardens, into the Sculpture Garden and by both the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. It was lots of fun!

With my medal after the race at the Capitol Building

With some Cherry Blossom tree's and the Capitol Building

With the "Thinking Bunny" statue

Enjoying my post-race treat of champions: a "snoball". Note: this is also the pre-race breakfast of champions. I love food that multi-tasks!

Enjoying the spring flowers at the Botanical Garden after the race.

Monday, March 23, 2009

National Marathon Race Report 4 hours 52 minutes

By the capitol on the second go round! What you do not realize is in fact in this picture I am facing the wrong way for the race. But facing the other way, my face was in the shadow (and no one wants that right?)

With a cute puppy along columbia heights...getting roughed up a bit. The golden retriever puppy was very enthusiastic and jumped around alot. He was completely opposite Gilligan who would by lying by the side of the road upside down!

In the tunnel below the Mall . This was a really surreal experience (and for some reason I did not realize we were going through the tunnel, so unexpected as well). Luckily it was fairly well lit.

In front of the Washington National's Baseball park. I had no idea where the stadium was (although a few years ago during this marathon, we ran the other side during construction...I just did not realize it was right next to the river). I really like marathons because you can see all sorts of sights and at least for me I get to add to my "mental map" of the area.

Running along the Anacostia River about mile 20 of the marathon. This section was an out and back for about a mile or so. It was very pretty. I imagine if it was windy I would have hated it because it was really exposed. But luckily the weather was sunny and a bit cool.

The National Marathon was alot of fun! I saw many friends (Laurie F., Larry M., Dave B. Amanda P., Dan P., and others). I met many new friends (Narda, Ruth, Mark and others), and continued my tradition of having my friend John G. pick up my packet and drive me to the race. This year our carpool increased to include his wife Jenn and son Keller. It was great to catch up with both John & Jenn on the ride over. We talked about jobs, running, triathlons and life in general. They are a really nice couple and it was great to catch up!

My marathon day started by getting up at 4 a.m. (this is a good test run for Umstead 100 when I have to get up at the same time). I put on my clothing, making sure to glide all sensitive area's then slipped on my socks and shoes. Thanks to Drymax I no longer need a half bottle of glide on my feet (so they have really simplified my dressing process). But sadly I still am incompetent at getting in my contacts which took me 20 minutes!!! I need to practice getting my contacts in. However, in my defense because I have really bad astigmatism, my contacts have alot of body and are huge (my husband who wears contacts for nearsightedness one time saw my contacts and was shocked about how HUGE they are!), this makes it more complex to get them in. After this fiasco, all the rest of my preparations were pretty easy. And soon enough John & Jenn picked me up.

At the start of the marathon, I was lucky enough to run into my friend Lauri (who was going to run the Shamrock Marathon on Sunday). We caught up for a bit, then she actually started moving with the pack to the start line with ~8000 other runners. I did not. I waited until there were about 20-30 people left in the corrals then decided it was time to start the race. In fact, I started with the joggler, Barry G. (a fellow runner who has run National Marathon, Harrisburg Marathon, Frederick Marathon, Cherry Blossom 10 miler, Army 10 miler and many others at about the same pace as I). I never realized he was juggling 5 balls until this race (and that was only because I saw all 5 on the ground). Somehow I thought he was juggling 3 balls, which I already thought was amazing!

As I ran the marathon I appreciated all the monuments and neighborhoods we ran along. About mile 3 I met Narda who I ran about the first 11 miles of the marathon with. Narda is an experience triathlete who was running the marathon in honor of her mom whose birthday was this week. This marathon was Narda's first ever and was run in honor her mom who passed away from cancer. I know this made it poignant for Narda, but also made it really meaningful for me because it really shows how lucky I am to have my family. Narda was really good company and the miles just flew by!

The day started out cold, but it was sunny and never too windy, thus pleasant to run. Because we have had some warm snaps here in the mid-Atlantic there were even Cherry Blossom Tree's in bloom now and again along the course. There were also lots of daffodils, crocus and other early spring flowers out making the course even more beautiful.
The spectators along the course were awesome! Many neighborhoods had block parties going on to cheer on the runners and several groups provided treats and drinks to the runners. It was great fun.

The last part of the marathon goes along the Anacostia River. This area of DC has been revitalized recently. We ran alongside the Nationals Baseball stadium, along the Anacostia River and through Capitol Heights. This section was a vast improvement compared to the inaugural National Marathon course which went into Prince Georges County through some really seedy and hilly sections of the county. Through this section I saw many runners I knew including Amanda and Dan P. (from George Washington Birthday, B&A Trail Marathon), several Marathon Maniacs and a friend from the Gaithersburg Fleet Feet Running group Cynthia (who unbeknownst to me was running her first marathon and was being coached by Jenn G, part of my chauffer "team").

I ran the last several miles with Cynthia right behind me and with two new friends I meet about mile 20: Julie and Ruth. Julie was running her second marathon and Ruth was running her first marathon. It was awesome to run and finish with some friends who were so emotional at the end. I guess because this was my 49th marathon, I may not have as much passion and pride about my finish. But I can relate because I really get emotional during my 50 and 100 milers because in those events I have had to work really hard for my finish. Right before the finish line I saw my friend Dave B. I ran over to give him a hug and learned he was about to leave, thus caught up briefly. I also saw Jenn, but evidently she did not see me (since Cynthia was her student I think she was really focussed on Cynthia and her first marathon finish).

Closing in on the finish, I took a moment for a picture with the Washington Mystic Mascot then finally finished in 5:02 gun time. I knew I started about 10 minutes late, so I was really pleased with what I knew was a sub-5 hour finish.

After the finish I hung around the finish to cheer on all my friends who were completing the race. It was a beautiful day to spectate and cheer on 5-6 hour finishers. And of course I think it is harder for the slower runners who are plugging along, digging deep then the fast runners who are finished in 2, 3 or 4 hours. The pain, determination, pride and other emotions for these finishers were really inspiring!

Unfortunately, there were several negative aspects of this race. One negative about this race was the lack of cups for beverages from about mile 5 until mile 11. There were gallon jugs of water and powerade (for those of us in the ~5 hour marathon group). But no cups to drink from. I luckily carry my own water; however, about mile 11 I partook in simply drinking some powerade from a gallon jug.

Additionally at mile 8 and 18 the marathon runners were supposed to have food/gels provided. Again these items were not available for my pace group (~11 minute mile/5 hour marathon). I tend to eat marathon bars so I was not stressed about this lack of food/beverage but considering the time limit was 6 hours, this was completely inappropriate! I hope the race management either caps the event at fewer runners or else is better prepared for all the runners (including the slower runners) next year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

National Marathon, First Thoughts

At the start with the Gill's: John (my driver and packet pick upper for 3 years straight in keeping our tradition alive), Jenn, and Keller (their child).

With my friend Laurie before the start of the race. She started ahead of me to allow for maximum time on the course since she was doing the Shamrock Marathon on Sunday!
With my friend Dave Bell right before I finished the marathon (you can see Jenn in the background with her spectator identification balloon). Since Dave was about to head off to the Shamrock Marathon, I stopped my marathon for this picture. The spectators around him were pretty amused because I took his picture, we shared a hug, caught up a bit then got this picture. Guess I was not highly motivated to finish!

In keeping with my refusal to finish the face, I struck a pose with the Washington Mystics Mascot. This was observed by the announcer who called my name, then realized I was not moving from the ID mat (about 200 meters prior to the finish) to the finish line. Guess I really like to savor the journey and am always a bit bummed out when it is over.
With my new friend Narda. She is an accomplished triathlete, but this was her first marathon and she did really well finishing in about 5:10 or 20 even with a recent knee injury. We ran about the first 10 miles of the marathon together, which made them fly by. She was really sweet and is currently studying Food Law at American University.

For the 4th time in 4 years I competed in the National Marathon/Half Marathon. This year my time was 4 hour 52 minutes which is about a 7 minute PR for the marathon as compared to my first time. That year the time limit was stated to be 5 hours. I finished in 4 hours 59 minutes! In fact the time limit ended up being 5 hours 30 minutes (if only I had known I would not have exerted myself in 2006!)
The first year, I ran the full marathon, then the last 2 years I ran the half marathon because it was only 1 week prior to the Umstead 100 mile race. But this year Umstead 100 was still 2 weeks away, so I felt comfortable returning to my marathon roots:-)

I had a great marathon. The weather was delightful, it was sunny and about 45 or 50 by mid-day (although the start was a bit chilly). The course is dramatically improved over the first year. It's now a lot more interesting (going through many neighborhoods in DC) and less hilly. And we ran by several of the DC monuments twice.
I will write a more comprehensive race report later....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Run Commuting Part II, Weekly Running summary and National Half Marathon Pictures from 2008

Before the start of the race!

With Teddy, George and Jefferson, the Washington Nationals Mascot. I ran a bit of the Marine Corps Marathon with Teddy last year which was pretty amusing....maybe one day I will run a marathon as a character!

The Cherry Blossoms were starting to bloom along the course last year. This year, the marathon is one week earlier, although I expect there will be some Cherry Blossoms in bloom.

After the finish
After the race, Gilligan and Tristan met up with me at the Tidal Basin (Tristan and Gilligan parked at Roosevelt Island and walked along the Mount Vernon Trail to Downtown DC). It was a beautiful day and Gilligan got lots of affection from all the tourists. In fact one lady seemed to do accupressure on his gums...it was pretty funny but he seemed to enjoy it.

Today in preparation (cramming?) for Umstead 100, I continued my run-commuting for this week. Although today I sort of cheated, in that my husband dropped me off at work and I was responsible for getting myself home. It was pretty chilly and there was an expectedly strong wind. Luckily at work I have spare running cloths so I was able to add a few layers to enable my run home.

Since I am trying to track my running progress, here are the stats for this week:

Saturday-9 miles of trail hillwork at Harpers Ferry followed by a 4 mile hike (6 hours on feet)
Sunday-7 miles jog
Monday-4 miles jog and 1 hour walk to dinner
Tuesday-16 miles jog to and from work (pretty fast)
Wednesday- 7 mile jog back from work
Thursday-2 mile run (because my knee hurt so I bailed)
Friday-7 mile jog home from work

Thus my statistics include ~50 miles of running and 17 hours of "time on feet".

Tommorow, I will be running the National Marathon. I have not run the marathon since 2006. In 2007 and 2008 I signed up for the Marathon, but then dropped back to the half because it was a week before Umstead 100. This year I have 2 more weeks until Umstead 100. I continue to be a bit anxious and nervous, but am feeling pretty good and strong. Now I just need to keep healthy and injury free for 16 days!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thank you Drymax!

For "Leprechauns day" I received in the mail, a real treat from Gus at Drymax Socks: several summer weight socks (one of these socks is pink, no less!).

I am really looking forward to testing out these socks when warmer weather comes (sadly today the high was about 65 degrees, which considering the predicted high was to be 75, I was bummed!). Based on my previous experience with Drymax socks, I know they will be wonderful!

And now I can be comfortable and fashionable!

Drymax socks are worn by many of my ultra friends including Jamie D., who just recently set a course record at Delano 12 hours (78 miles--she is amazing!!!!).

And of course I have been a Drymax socks convert since Vermont 100 when my feet remained relatively unscathed after I used some Drymax socks. Since I constantly faced blister issues in marathon or longer events, I was really attentive to my feet and really attribute my success at few blisters to using the pair of Drymax socks I received at Umstead 100 during the latter part of the VT100 mile race. (I know one should not use "untested" wardrobe or food products, but at the end of 100's I tend to throw caution to the wind!)

Since I started using Drymax socks I have not had any problems with my feet before, during or after a race.

In fact, now my biggest foot issue before any endurance event is which Drymax socks I should use (maximum protection, black or grey trail running or cold weather--this depends on the weather and what color I feel is lucky!).

In addition to reducing blisters, I have noticed my times for endurance events have improved markedly in the past year (well except for the Disney Goofy marathon but that was reallly caused by excessive eating, drinking and going on thrill rides during the event). I attribute this improvement to having happy feet.


With Drymax's help, these pictures (caution high ick factor) will be visions from my past!

One of my blisters from Umstead 100 in 2006 (my first time). The "main blister" was about the 1/2 inch in diameter, "baby blister" was about 1/4 inch in diameter and "scabie blister" was about 1/2 inch in diameter. I had about 14 blisters of various sizes and locations (including the soles of my feet!). Ultimately I ran out of names for my blisters and sadly because of an inability to stretch on my part, this is the only picture somewhat in focus (FYI it was zoomed from about 18 inches away!)

Here I am preparing for Vermont 100 in 2007. I used to use about half a large bottle of glide for VT100 on my feet alone! (in fact I would scrape the glide onto the top then apply it in big handfuls on my feet, between my toes and everywhere I could imagine)

This is my "after" picture at VT100. You will notice you can barely see my feet below the copious amounts of glide. I still ended up with some blisters but I attribute alot of this sucess to switching to Drymax socks at the end of the race.