Tag Archives: Family

Race Recap: Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged (and more on the reason for that soon enough), but I thought I’d get back in the game here with my Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon recap, which I ran in June of 2016.  Luckily, I log all my runs on another site so I don’t have to just try to remember everything that was going on during the race.  And obviously I have my GPS data for splits.

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon Expo:

The expo was held at University of Alaska Anchorage, in their fieldhouse/basketball arena.  Nothing too crazy, but a nice mix of vendors.  I asked if I could pick my own number just for fun and they almost let me, but now I can’t remember why they didn’t.  I think the number I wanted was a designated half-marathon number, but I thought 868 was good.  I like even numbers.

anchorage mayor's marathon expo


Considering I’ve only run very large marathons (Chicago, Boston, and Columbus…which isn’t a large marathon, but starts with the half marathon which does have a large field size), the start line area and hype for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon was quite different than I’ve ever experienced.

anchorage mayor's marathon start

The full and half marathoners do not start together because each is a point-to-point course and the half start an hour and 30 minutes after the full so runners are finishing around the same time.

Aunt Sonja, Uncle Dave, Hanna, and Jane all came with to the start area, which was the parking lot of a high school, and hung outwith me right up until I had to line up…which was about 3 minutes before gun went off.  I got to meet some of their friends who were also running, use the port-a-potties a few times, and stretch out for awhile.

Miles 1 – 3: 7:36, 7:39, 7:45

This was way too fast.  And I knew that, but I felt like I was moving slow and even though I tried to slow myself down further, it didn’t really work.  Legs were tight, I think from it being chillier and only wearing shorts at the start.

These first few miles led from the high school down a highway – but we weren’t on the road – this is a small enough race that we were on the bike path to the side of the road.  It was a long, straight stretch.

Miles 4 – 10: 7:46, 7:32, 8:09, 7:55, 7:51, 7:45, 7:51

I started making friends with the few people around me.  We chatted, talked about races we’ve done in the past, etc.  So many of the people I talked to were just doing the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon as part of training for ultra-marathons or Ironman triathlons.  These Alaskans are tough!


The bike trail continued until about miles 5 I believe and then we got onto a gravel trail – what they call the tank trail, which is on US Army land.  I had read a few race reviews/recaps in the few weeks before the race and was nervous for this because so many people said you’d be running over golf-ball and baseball-sized rocks.  Let me assure you that this was not the case at all.  There were a few patches that had more legit rocks than gravel, but I can’t say I felt like I had to be looking down and watching my feet the entire time.  I was trying as much as I could to just relax and enjoy the scenery!


The support crew was at a turn on the trail at mile 9 (where Aunt Sonja took this picture from) and I actually even stopped for a few seconds to grab a sip of a water bottle they had.  I ended up doing this later in the race as well; They didn’t have many official race water stations that I remember, so it worked out nicely that I could take some water from them…and that I wasn’t trying to PR in this race so I could afford to stop for a few extra seconds.

Mile 11: 8:33

There was a steep hill in this mile that I ended up walking up some of.  Just couldn’t muster the strength to get up it.  Chicago is flat.

Mile 12: 7:30

Due to the walking break, I lost the group of people I was running with.  This resulted in my being alone, running through the wilderness on Army land where no spectators were allowed.  It was not particularly comforting and I was sure a bear would come and eat me.  Sooo I’m pretty sure that’s why I sped up.

Miles 13 – 17: 8:51, 9:01, 8:20, 7:34, 8:12

Miles 13-14 I believe were when we got off the Army land/tank trail and onto more of a technical dirt trail.  I came though the half at exactly 1:45 and at this time,  I had caught up with one lady who was in the group of 3-4 I had run with earlier in the race, but I couldn’t stick with her.  The majority of these miles were all running, with a few short walk breaks.

Miles 18 – 22: 8:51, 7:56, 8:12, 8:47, 9:58

There were a lot more walking breaks during miles 18 through the finish.  But I got to see my support crew I think 3 times during these few miles!


The course was entirely on either a bike bath or a trail until the very very end, when you finished on a road and then on grass.


I was so happy in this picture because I had just seen the crew 2 times in the last mile or 2 already and then they quickly made it to another spot before I got there so it was fun to see them so much!  And I think this was around mile 18-19 so I wasn’t COMPLETELY dead yet…but I was getting there.

Miles 23 – 26.2:  8:47, 8:39, 8:37, 9:52

Finally, the end!  I did manage to catch up to a guy  from the pack earlier in the race – we kept alternating between running and walking and catching up to each other or falling behind.  So that kept me going for the last few miles, but they were rough.  These miles were still on the bike path and in the last mile we were running right next to the ocean.  Then, we had to come up from sea level to the finish area and that was anything but pleasant.  The worst hills of the race, right there in the last quarter mile.  But finally made it to the top and was able to push it in.

anchorage mayors marathon medal

(Sweaty Band = Simply Satin)

Finish time: 3:38:26

Overall, I finished this race eager to do another marathon.  Not having the pressure on myself to meet a certain time goal helped and I chose not to run with music so I could just try to enjoy my surroundings while I ran.  During the race, I did have some thoughts of finishing under 3:35 to potentially be able to run Boston in 2017, but my desire to do so was not strong enough to prevent me from my late-mile walk breaks.

The weather was great for this race – a little on the hotter side, especially at times when we were in the sun, but nothing to complain about really.  The summer sun in Alaska is a tricky thing – even when it says one temperature, it feels soooo much warmer (probably by about 10-15 degrees) because you are so much closer the sun.

I Don’t Like Odd Numbers – 19.25 Miles

Everyone has a favorite number.  Some have a stronger affinity towards one number over all others (cough Erin cough).  I have a few favorite numbers I think…but in general I can say that I don’t like odd numbers.  They’re…odd, if you will.  They make me feel awkward.  Probably because I’m always the number these days.  I just like even-numbered dates and even-numbered things.

I’m pretty sure I hit on this in a post recently…but it seems like whenever I see marathon training plans or in the training plans I make for myself, long runs are always even-numbered distances.  I would never put a 17-mile or 19-mile run on my schedule.  Even 7-mile or 9-mile runs are weird.  Why not stick to 6 or 8 or 10?

So, this brings us to my Mother’s Day run.  I planned to do 20 miles since I had done 18 miles (actually 18.25…I’ll give myself credit where credit is due) 2 weeks ago.  We were supposed to be at brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house at 9:30am, so I had the idea to run from my parents’ house and end at brunch.

The route I’ve taken to run to their house before would be exactly 10 miles.  I didn’t map out a route beforehand, but figured I’d wind around a little before setting on that route and then add on what I needed to at the end.

Unfortunately, within the first 30 minutes of the run, I was not feeling so great.  Not bad, but not feeling like I was going to make it 20 miles.  Right about 30 minutes in, I stopped at a light and needed to take off my long-sleeve shirt and took a minute to stretch out and gather my thoughts.  I decided to continue the direction I was headed, but then to loop back home, for a total of about 7 miles.

But then when I got to the corner where I originally planned to make the turn to head on the route to my cousins’ house, I made the turn.  I think I was in one of my “yeah I can totally do 20 miles!” phases that surprisingly did come.  Normally, I make the decision to quit and it’s done.  That phase ended soon after (don’t worry, it came back again…it really is come and go), but by this time, I was at the point of no return.  If I headed back home, I’d risk not making it back in time before Mom had to leave for brunch…at least that was what I was telling myself so that I wouldn’t turn back.

Like the 18.25 mile run a few weeks ago, I was going completely off of time and had no idea on distance.  I told myself I wanted to run for 2 hours and 40 minutes and see how far that got me.  I was soooo close to their house around 2:20 I believe, but I made myself add on a loop.  And I really struggled during that loop.  I was on side streets, but a few cars passed by me and I don’t even want to know what they were thinking I looked like because it probably wasn’t pretty.

I told myself I’d run to 2:35.  That would be 10 minutes longer than the previous long run.  I got to their house in 2:32.  And I talked myself into running around the block.  And I finished in 2:35:30 for 19.25 miles.  OK, it was actually 19.28 in 2:35:33 according to my Garmin…but you know, weird odd/non-rounded numbers don’t fly with me.


This was right as Grandma & Grandpa were pulling up and getting out of their car.  I went to give them a hug (they wouldn’t accept one #sweaty) and I was pretty wiped out, but I knew I was supposed to say something to Grandma so I said “Happy Birthday!”  I soon realized that the correct greeting was actually “Happy Mother’s Day!” but they got over it after I told them I just finished running 19+ miles.

So that is my story on my most recent long run. I have another coming up this weekend that I’ll give you the deets on next week – hopefully will hit that 20 miles.

Also, my playlist ran out of songs on this run!  I need to remember to make a longer one!  The current one was intended for a half marathon.

Do you go in and out of strong and weak (mental) phases during your long runs? How do to talk yourself out of the “bad” phases?

Reflecting On My 1st Boston Marathon, 1 Year Later

The Boston Marathon is in 3 days!!  I’m jealous of everyone that is doing it, but I was definitely not ready to commit to another marathon during registration time last fall.  I thought it’d be fun to reflect on the weekend (you can read about my training summary, pre-race, RACE, and post-race) now that we are a year removed.

Although last year was a (very cold) dream and an amazing experience, there are of course some things I’d do differently:

  • Not buy as much paraphernalia.  I bought a lot of Boston Marathon 2015 items – 2 long sleeve shirts (in addition to the long sleeve shirt that was in the race packet), a pint glass, and the jacket.  But it was my first one, so that is acceptable.  When I do it again (assuming I qualify again, of course), I’d probably just stick to the jacket and OK, probably like 1 other thing, even if just a glass.  But do you even need more than 1 Boston jacket?  Most likely.  Oh, and then I was at a random outlet mall when I was on vacation in Florida in June (2 months after the race) and went into the adidas shop and they had extremely discounted Boston merch, so I bought 2 more clothing items.  And I wear them all with pride now.  So if it’s your first Boston, go all out.  But next time, I’ll try to rein it in a little.

Boston Jacket

  • Find a friend (or at least a moderate acquaintance/friend-of-a-friend in Boston to stay with.  Last year I was very lucky to have my parents, aunt & uncle & cousin, and Angela to stay in a hotel with.  So although I didn’t have to pay for the hotel, my mom said it was the most they’ve EVER paid for a standard hotel room.  Unless I was traveling with a larger group again, I’d probably try to use my social network to find someone I know there to stay with and mooch housing off of.  Or even if I was going to get a hotel, I guess I’d try to book as early and as cheaply as possible…if even possible.  I’m sure that city makes bank this weekend.  As does adidas (see above.)


  • Do more anti-rain dances in the weeks leading up to the race.  JK, I can’t control this one…or can I?…


Trying to smile, but so cold. (Sweaty Band = Chevron Slide 1″)

  • Leave on Tuesday.  Last year, I thought it was a grand ole idea to “make a vacation” out of it and stay til Wednesday.  Vacationing/site-seeing Ben Franklin’s church and Paul Revere’s grave is by no means enjoyable when you can barely walk.  On a scale of 1-10, I’d put the Freedom Trail normally at like a 6 maybe?  But when it’s the day after a marathon, at least 1 toenail is going to fall off, and your legs are extremely stiff, the Freedom Trail’s “fun rating” goes down to a 1.


(Sweaty Band = Hex in the City 1″)

  • Don’t throw up on the T.  Rather, try not to need to get off the T a stop earlier than your hotel to puke on the platform.  Not sure how this one could’ve been prevented…maybe I didn’t eat enough the day I was flying or maybe it was just nerves, but by the time I arrived in Boston I had a huge headache and felt extremely nauseous.


So those are just the things I’d do differently.  There were so many great parts of the experience that I would not change.  If you’re running this year, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the entire experience!!  I get extremely jealous when I see the photos appearing on social media advertising the race because every one seems to NOT be from last year because I’m sure everyone looks at least 60% more miserable last year than the previous.  So I wouldn’t want to advertise a marathon with photos of freezing people in rainy, cloudy weather either.  So all the sunshine photos make me want to run it again soon so I can enjoy the actual race more!  Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I just don’t think I got the true experience.

Our spectators had some travel issues on race day that I doubt could have been prevented…lots of people and lots of security.

But what are some things I’d definitely do again??



Red Sox!  We were chilly at the game so spent a lot of time in the concourse and just outside of the ballpark where we could stand in the sun, but it was great to experience.


(Sweaty Band = Color Wash 1″)

Visiting the Finish line area the day before the race!  The weather was nicer that day, so we did a shake-out jog around Boston, near Harvard (I think?), and had a photo shot by the finish line.  A selfie stick would’ve come in handy, but luckily everyone was nice, so we took turns with some strangers taking each others picture.


The food!  These were some delicious gourmet fries and sauces we ate while waiting for our table at the famous seafood restaurant, Union Oyster House.


Taking a private bus to the start!


My training group in Cincinnati had a large enough crowd all going to the race, that they chartered a private bus for us.  This made everything a little less stressful.  It was a long, drizzly ride there and I thought “how am I going to run the whole way back downtown?”  But it was comforting to be around people I knew and our leader kept us entertained.  We all introduced ourselves, said what number marathon it is and what number Boston Marathon it is for us, etc.

And of course, the marathon!


My hair was not in a good state after that run…so many wet tangly knots.


Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon – Now On My Sched

I did it.  I registered for another marathon!

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should), here’s what I posted:


After the Boston Marathon last April, I was supposed to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  But I had a bit of an injury when I started to try starting to train again in May.  Pretty sure the Boston Marathon just absolutely murdered my legs.  I was also in the midst of moving and starting a new job, so even when I did start running again, I never really started “training.”  And I decided the pure thought of training for and running in another marathon sounded like the worst thing ever.

Lately I’ve been training hard for the St. Louis Half Marathon and at the back of my mind I know that I want to try to PR in a fall marathon.  But I’ve also kept Aunt Sonja and Uncle Dave’s offer to have me come up to Alaska to visit and run the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon at the back of my mind as well.


And finally this week, I just decided to book a flight, register for the full marathon, and commit to it!

They came all the way to watch me run the Boston Marathon and I want to visit them in Alaska anyways, so it only makes sense to visit the week of the marathon.

(I actually have been to Alaska with them before, but it was before they were Alaska residents and was way back when I was in high school.)

I’m not sure yet what my goal for the race will be.  It will definitely be a tougher race than I’m used to.  Or rather, a race that does not align with my training terrain.  I lived in Chicago when I trained for the Chicago Marathon.  And I lived in Cincinnati when I trained for Boston, which gave me hilly routes to run on in preparation for a hilly course.  For this one, I’ll be training on the flat land for a hillier race that includes some trail and gravel terrain.

I do want to train as well as I can, but I’m not sure at this point if that will mean shooting for a PR.  I’ll have to see what kind of shape I’m in over the next few weeks.  One bonus of this race is that it’s date, June 18, will make for perfect marathon training weather during April, May, and June.

And now that I just looked back at pictures from the Boston Marathon weekend, let’s say goal #1 = not puking in the 48 hours before the race.

I hope you will all follow along with my training over the next 11.5 weeks!!

To start things off this week, I’ve had a few “normal” runs.  Yesterday morning was easily one of the worst runs I’ve had in awhile.  Mainly because I felt like I was running into the wind the entire time.  I’m not sure how that’s even possible, but that’s what it felt like.  I better be stronger for enduring that one!  It did feel good to finally do a morning run again though (I’ve gotten into the evening run habit over the past week or so.)

Are you a fan of “run-cations” or destination races?

Have you ever been to Alaska?

Past 2 Weeks of Workouts 11/16 – 11/29

Lucky you, you get 2 weeks worth of workout updates…

The week of 11/16 really failed in comparison to the previous week.  Ohh wells.  Trying not to be too beat up over it right now because I want to save the hard training for Jan – April and not get burnt out before I need to start that real training.

Monday: OFF

I drove home from St. Louis Monday morning, and then napped…and then it was dark out and I needed to catch up on work emails from being off for the day.

Since I really don’t have many relevant pictures to include in this post, here’s a craft Angela and I made in St. Louis:


We had a lovely Sunday of shopping, dinner at Whole Foods, crafting + ice cream + Christmas music.

Tuesday: 2.5 miles

A super busy day at work – just enough time to squeeze in a short run before taking the train home.

Wednesday: 6.4 miles @ 8:03 pace

Again, very busy day at work so I really needed to get a run in to let some energy out.  It was a wonderful night out and I was wearing shorts and a TV…little did I know it would be snowing soon enough.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: OFF

Really not wanting to do the treadmill…such a stressful work week.  Really no excuse other than that.

Saturday: 25 minutes on the bike training because this happened and I didn’t feel like leaving the house to go to the Y:


Sunday: Prospect Arlington Fall Haul 5k race (with a 1-mile warm-up before)

Total for the Week: 13 running miles + 25 minutes biking … yeah, that’s pathetic.


And then the week of 11/23 was better, as in I worked out 6 of the 7 days, but most were pretty short runs.

Monday: 7 miles @ 8:00 pace

This was one of the few runs on the treadmill that went by amazingly quickly.

Tuesday: 3 miles @ 8:10 pace

And this was one of the many runs on the treadmill that went by painfully slow and I just couldn’t take it any longer.

Wednesday: 3 miles @ 8:00

I intended to make this more of a speed workout, but it ended up being 2 miles of warm-up, followed by 1 mile @ 7 minute pace…and then that was the end of that.  I even felt great during the warm-up and was ready to have a strong workout, but then that 7 minute mile just killed me.

Thursday: 6 miles

Edison Park Turkey Trot!!  Catherine and I do this race together every year, but we never actually race it.  And this year we especially did not race it.  Cath and I met up early and got in about 3 miles, then met up with Therese and made our way to the start line for the 5k run.  I believe we were doing about 8:25 – 8:45 miles and just chatting and catching up the whole way which was very nice.  I wrote an actual recap of this race in 2013.

Friday: 5.75 miles

Nothing cray here and didn’t bring a watch.  Big meal at the casino on the schedule, so had to make sure I got out for a run before that!  Then I hit the jackpot at the casino and won $300, which made my Black Friday 55″ TV purchase a little easier to handle.


Saturday: Body PUMP class @ the Y

The madre and I went to the morning class before a quick trip to Target before an afternoon/evening/night of merriment with all of the Smith family.  I’m still in pain from the class. #soweak


Sunday: OFF

Total for the week: 24.75 running miles + 1 BodyPUMP Class

So that’s all I got for ya today.  Hope everyone is had a great Cyber Monday!!

Do you have any fitness equipment you can use at home when you don’t want to leave the house in a snowstorm?

What % of your treadmill runs would you say go by quickly?  I’m gonna go with 10-20%.

Did you do any Black Friday shopping?  I got the TV on Friday, then did some shopping on Sunday and got a few more things for myself…and 1 gift so far.

Race Recap: Prospect Arlington Fall Haul 5k (22:02)

First, the general stats:

Time: 22:02

Splits: 7:00, 7:10, 7:07

Place: 1st Female!

I registered for the race a few days after running the Hot Chocolate 5k, figuring I’d keep trying to do a few races before the weather turns bad.  Well, the weather turned bad on Friday.

I was considering not racing, but considering I didn’t step outside the house at all on Saturday (except to do some shoveling and let my little Bailey out), I decided I should do the race even if I knew it wouldn’t be a true “race.”  At least it would get me out to do a run, whereas otherwise I probably wouldn’t.  And my cousin Joe registered too and wasn’t backing out, so I couldn’t let him down.

Joe and I arrived around 8:15, for a 9:00 start time.  We picked up our bib and tshirt, then went back to sit in the car for awhile.  In those few minutes outside, my fingertips got reallyyyy cold.  So that worried me for a bit, but I had handwarmers that I put inside my gloves.


We got out of the car at 8:45 and started to jog around the side streets for a warm-up.  There were definitely a few questionable icey patches, but in general the roads were at least somewhat decent – just wet and patches of snow/not very well plowed areas.  We decided to aim for a 7 minute pace and 22 minutes overall.  Given the cold and slippery conditions, we thought that would still be possible.  Then we found a spot at the starting line and soon were off!

It was clear that this was going to be much smaller race than originally anticipated, I’m guessing due to the cold/snow (temp was about 15 degrees, probably worse with windchill.)  Joe and I started pretty much right at the front.  We set off at what I would say was a pretty conservative pace, being careful not to slip as the street of the start/finish was the icy-est of the whole race.  After about half mile, I would say we settled into a good pace and my hands were actually feeling really hot with the hand warmers in my gloves.

We crossed the mile right at 7:00 and it was at this point that I could easily see there were 2 girls ahead of me.  There was one just a few strides ahead, so after the mile I cruised passed her but the other girl was much further ahead (ended up that she was running the 5 mile, which is how I ended up placing 1st in the 5k.)  Joe also started to fall behind me after a mile so then I was on my own.

I came to the 2 mile mark at 14:10, so the 2nd mile was a 7:10.  Much different than my 2nd mile of the Hot Chocolate 5k and I was a little discouraged I had slowed down a little because I thought I was speeding up or at least staying constant.

A little after the 2 mile mark, I caught up to a guy who truthfully I wasn’t sure if he was a guy or if it was actually another girl because he was so bundled up.  As we rounded the final turn a spectator said something along the lines of “battle it out for 2nd and 3rd” so I assumed that other girl who was much further ahead had won, and me and this he/she person were going for 2nd/3rd place female.  Turns out it was a guy and he was battling the other guy for 2nd/3rd place male…so yeah, that’s how little competition there was here.

I crossed the 3 mile mark in 21:17, so a 7:07 3rd mile.  I knew I’d finish right at 22 minutes and ended up at 22:02.

So I crossed the finish line and immediately I got asked to have my picture taken with the 1st place male and was told I won.  Overall there were 66 runners in the 5k – probably about half women I’d guess.  And about an equal number in the 5 mile.  That girl ahead of me won the 5 mile in 34:11, so she definitely would’ve had me in the 5k.  But oh well, a win is a win I guess.  First time ever winning a race!!


I talked with some of the spectators and race volunteers around the finish – they were telling me that I looked very relaxed and smooth coming into the finish.  That was surprising after seeing my finisher video from the Hot Chocolate 5k – I looked anything but relaxed finishing that race.  And also was in a lot of pain immediately after crossing that finish line.  This time I just felt like it was a casual run – definitely harder than normal, but not like all out dying to go as fast as I could because of the roads.

So it ended up being just about as good as I could’ve hoped for – definitely happy with the time and looking forward to doing more races soon, but hopefully in better conditions!

And afterwards there was Dunkin Donuts coffee and donuts, Skinny Pop, and water.  It’s just unfortunate it was so cold!  Otherwise I think this race would’ve gotten a lot more participation and be more of a fun atmosphere, but understandably people didn’t want to be outside any longer than necessary.

Have you ever won a race?

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