Tag Archives: Marathon

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.

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon Training – 9 Weeks Out

Sup, amigos?

I haven’t done one of these weekly training recaps in a few weeks because the past few have been pretty much like this: run easy during the week + race on the weekend.  I guess I can give a quick overview of the past 3 weeks:

3/28 – 4/3: 36.2 miles, including the Shamrock Shuffle 8k

4/4 – 4/10: 26 miles, including the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon

4/11 – 4/18: 28.1 miles, including the Carmel Half Marathon

Which brings us to this week and the fact that as much as I’d like to race some shorter distances because I think I’m in sweet 5k-10k shape, I have a marathon to train for!  And train for it I did this week:

Monday – 7.6 miles in 1:01:20 (8:04 avg pace)

Tuesday – 6.9 miles in 55:30 (8:02 avg pace)

Wednesday – OFF

Thursday – 6.15 miles in 50:00 (8:07 avg pace)

Got a little wet in the rain on this one…nothing terrible, but a rather refreshing mist that actually felt pretty good.

Friday – 6 miles in 47:30 (7:55 avg pace)

Another windy night in the city, so I stayed away from the lakefront.  I considered running into Wicker Park, but that would’ve been just a tad further than I wanted to go, knowing I had a long run on the schedule for the next morning.  And it was nearing dusk anyways, so I stayed in my general hood, just running down neighborhood streets for the most part.  I tend to stick to the busier roads out of habit, but it sure is nice to run down the quieter side streets.  I also did this on Saturday’s long run.

Saturday – 18.25 miles in 2:25:00 (7:56 avg pace)

Looking back on this run (a whopping 4 days removed), I’m still pretty shocked how good I felt on it.  Obviously there were some patches of doubt during it, but nothing nearly as bad as it could have been.  The weather was perfect which helped a ton.  So here’s to hoping I can have a few more quality long runs over the next 8 weeks!

Sunday – Orange Theory class + about 7 miles rollerblading  … and painting a few walls, I’ll call that a workout.

I was holding out on becoming a member at the Orange Theory in the city because of the price.  But it’s clear that I won’t do weight training on my own and I love their classes, so I decided to do the 8x/month membership.  I’ll see how it works out this summer, but I think adding this in 2x/week to my running will help immensely.  Especially with those hills I’ll need to run in Anchorage and my dream of running a sub-20 minute 5k this summer at the 4th of July race.  #goalz

Total – 44.9 miles + 1 OTF class + rollerblading

This was a great week of training coming off a few hard races.  I still don’t feel 100% recovered from that run on Saturday, but mentally I feel pretty great about it.  After the let-down of half marathons recently, I needed a strong confidence booster going into this next training cycle.

OK, but now for some non-running stuff:

Sunday morning after Orange Theory, my mom and I had some painting to do.  I’m slowly making progress with some of the things in my condo that need to be updated and now there are only a few walls left to paint!  I’ll get some photos up of that once it’s all finished and put together.

After a few hours of painting, we hit up a local fish taco joint, Buzz Bait, for tacos, margs, and chips and salsa.


I had the shrimp taco (yay!) and the chicken taco (nay…)  Next time, I think I’ll need to just get 2 shrimp tacos because that one was amazing.  I’m just writing this here because I’ll probably go back in a few months and forget what I thought about each.  So now I have documentation that I can go back and reference.  Does that happen to anyone else?

After the tacos, I still wanted to take advantage of the nice weather, so I decided I’d rollerblade.  As I was getting ready to head out, Jocelyn texted and asked what I was up to – they were doing some day drinking over at another friend’s apartment – so I said I would blade up there and say hi for a bit.


#sunsoutbladesout I wasn’t doing a good job of getting a picture while rollerblading, so that one will have to do.

How do you make sure you get in weight training with your running?

Do you always order the same item at restaurants or switch it up each time?

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?

Chicago Marathon Registration: How To Get In

Chicago Marathon registration.  Changes about as often as the weather here, right?  Not really, I guess it just changes annually.  There are quite a few ways you can gain entry to the Chicago Marathon so read on to find out how!

As many of you probably know, I love the Chicago Marathon.  It wasn’t my first marathon, but it is my hometown marathon.  (Apologies to Cincinnati, my other “hometown.”)

Up until a few years ago, Chicago Marathon registration was open until it filled to capacity.  And some years that took over a month.  Then in 2012, it filled in like 4 days.  Then in 2013, the system crashed when registration opened because everyone tried to register at once.  I was one of those people and luckily managed to get in.



I have only actually run the race twice, officially.  I was registered each of the past 2 years, but had to drop out of each due to injury.  During my junior and senior years of high school, my cross country team volunteered at a water station.  (And an elite took my water, btw.)  Then in college, it always worked out that I was home for fall break during Chicago Marathon weekend.  So I got to jump in and run with Catherine for a few miles one year :)  And jump in and just run a few miles the following year, mainly to practice running through a water stop for my upcoming first marathon (Columbus in 2010.)  I know that’s generally frowned upon, especially more so recently with heightened security measures.

Anyways, yeah I love the Chicago Marathon.  And I’m lucky in the sense that I can manage to get in through time qualification.  But lotteries suck.  So here I decided to write out the pros and cons of each Chicago Marathon registration option.  OK, maybe not EVERY way, because I know there are some “special” entries for people who work from sponsor companies, select members of the CARA running group, and elites of course.  But here are the Chicago Marathon registration options for the common (wo)man:

Lottery: Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and hope for the best.

Pros: Simple.

Cons: Complete chance; playing the waiting game; putting your life (don’t lie, marathons are your life) in the hands of “The Man.”

Seriously though, I wonder what system they use to “draw” winners.  My guess is all are assigned a number and then run through a system that randomly spits out a certain number of entries.  But I do wonder if there is any weight given to factors like your location (NYC Marathon gives a larger number of entries to NY residents)?  Or do they do a separate drawing for males and females to keep it even.  Chance drawings should come up with a fairly even result given the laws of statistics, but you never know.

If you are interested in entering the Chicago Marathon lottery this year, head here and register by April 12!! (Update for 2017: apply by November 29!)

Time Qualification: Survival of the fittest.  Literally.

Pros: If you have seen success in your running, you are rewarded.  Chicago is (currently) a more lax qualification standard than Boston and New York (the other World Marathon majors in the US), but that’s not to say it’s easy to meet.

Cons: Given the more lax standards that Boston, if the race does continue to grow in popularity, more spots are likely to be taken up by time qualifiers and less available for the lottery.

For details on the standards by gender and age, head here and see if you qualify!

Charity: Do good and good will come to you.

Pros: You are raising money for a good cause, hopefully one that you care about.  I ran for a charity in 2013 (by choice, not because I needed a way in) and I liked it because as part of this group, we got access to a training group comprised of a few other smaller charity groups and “non-affiliated” runners who just wanted to work with this coach.

Cons: The actual raising of money could be rough.  I was lucky that I had so many generous friends and family that donated to my fundraiser.  However, if I was going to do it again, I’d try to think of something more creative to raise the money.

There are SO many charities you can choose to run for!  Browse the charities here!  If you are interested in running the Chicago Marathon for the Imerman Angels charity, please let me know and I can get you in contact with a friend from work who is on their board.  This unique charity pairs individuals going through cancer with a survivor of the same type of cancer, who fought during the same stage in life.  Oh, and these services are 100% free, which is why you know for sure the money you help raise will be making an impact!

Also, if I never did it through a charity (benifitting Old St. Patrick’s Church), I would not have met my wonderful friend and training partner that summer, Mac!!


Deferment: The best gift in life is a second chance.

Pros: If you got injured or something came up last year and you declared to defer your entry by a certain date (I think sometime in August), you can bypass the lottery.

Cons: You still have to pay the entry fee again.

Legacy: Persistence pays.

Pros: It’s like a loyalty shopping program for marathon runners.  If you ran the Chicago Marathon in 5 of the past 10 years, you can get guaranteed entry as a legacy runner.  If you keep timing it right, you can probably keep up this guaranteed entry method for awhile.

Cons: Even if you were signed up for the Chicago Marathon, but did not finish, that doesn’t count.  That’s my issue because I’m currently at being registered during 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015, but only actually finished in 2011 and 2013.  So I wouldn’t qualify this way.  But I’ve had fun working the Sweaty Bands booth at the expo those 2 years at least!


By the way, if you would like to buy Sweaty Bands and you click through my link, you will a 15% off discount code!

How are you going to get into the Chicago Marathon this year?

Are you hating that so many marathons are going to the lottery system?  I am.  Sometimes I don’t plan that far ahead.  Yes, I need to plan at least like 16 weeks ahead of a marathon, but these lotteries often occur many weeks before that.  And what if you want to run with a few friends, or even just one friend, and one or a few of you don’t get a spot.

What is your favorite booth to visit at the expo?


Sidelined By Sickness – STL Half Training Week 6

Now that we are caught up on Week 5 (and previous weeks here and here), let’s move on to Week 6.  This past week I got plagued by sickness that started in the middle of the night last Saturday night.

Monday – OFF

The sickness started as some pretty serious throat pain so I thought it was just a sore throat.  I took Monday off just to play it safe and try to get rid of it.  Spoiler alert: 1 week later and it’s still not gone.

Tuesday – 6.5 miles in 53:00 (8:09 avg pace)

I felt a little better on Tuesday and really didn’t want to take 3 days off in a row because I’ve been doing so well up until this point at sticking to my plan!

So I went down to the treadmill after work and ran 6 miles varying randomly between 7.2 and 7.6, then finished with .5 fast from 8.7 to 9.5 (increased by .2 every .1 miles.)

Wednesday – 2 mile warm-up + 3 x 1 mile hard + 2.2 mile cool-down

I believe Wednesday was the day I started to feel like my sore throat was a lot better, but it was beginning to transform into more of a cold/congestion.  I really wanted to get this mile repeat workout in because I wanted to see what I could do.  Obviously, it’s a little different on the treadmill because who knows what I would’ve been able to do outside, but this just has to do in the winter.

Both my warm-up and cool-down miles were between 7.3 and 7.5 speed on the treadmill.  I did each of the mile repeats at 6:44 pace.  The rest between was supposed to be 75 seconds jogging, but I ended up doing 1 minute off the treadmill to drink water and stretch lightly + 75 seconds jogging.


The last half mile of each was really hard, but I kept pushing through it and was especially telling myself on the last one that I just need to finish and not to use being sick as an excuse…because it would hurt whether I’m sick or not.  I think I can say it was the sweatiest I’ve gotten in a longgg time.  Luckily it was like 7:30pm by this point so not many people were left in the office gym to see the aftermath.

Thursday – OFF

Technically I went down to the treadmill after work and ran 1 mile.  The cold was in full force this day and I knew going into it that I definitely wouldn’t go the total prescribed mileage of 9.  After just a mile I decided it’d be best not to push it today with the hopes of being well enough to do the long run this week.  It felt good to run that mile though which kinda got out some of the soreness from the mile repeats.  Didn’t even break a sweat.

Friday – OFF

Worked from home.  Didn’t have any human contact other than the fro yo worker lady.  I got fro yo for lunch because my throat hurt so much that the thought of solid food was not gonna work.

Saturday – 6 miles in 50:15 (8:22 avg pace)

Again, I didn’t want more than 2 full days off in a row so knew I’d have to do something.  I headed to the treadmill in my condo building, which I’ve only used to walk on before and I thought looked questionable for running on.  This was proven when I started and the entire thing started to shake after I got to a decent speed.  I kept it nice and easy – all between speeds of 7.0 and 7.4.

Then I watched the Olympic Marathon Trials!!  And was obsessed and I just want to be as fast as them.


Sunday – 5 miles in 41:30 (8:18 avg pace)

Super easy run again.  After watching the Trials, I was super motivated and I had literally nothing to do all day and was probably going to go crazy if I sat in my condo sick and alone all day.  So I went back up to my shakey treadmill and did 5 miles.  The Fitbit competition my cousin started was also part of my motivation:


Sorry Eric…

But yeah, definitely won’t be able to rely on those treadmills if I even want to do anything faster than an 8 minute pace, but good to have them up there for situations like this.

Do you ever run through a cold?

Would you rather do mile repeats outside or on the treadmill?

Current Running/Training/Racing Plans

Hola friends!  I haven’t posted on here in awhile because (a) I’ve been getting more acquainted with my new job, (b) the commute is long and I usually want to do absolutely nothing when I get home, and (c) I have barely been running, which means I really have nothing to talk about.  Unless you’d like commentary on the people I encounter on the train, which actually might be really entertaining.

But back to running: Aren’t I supposed to run a marathon in a little over a month?  I sure am.  But as of now, I don’t intend to run the Chicago Marathon any more.  I’m very saddened by this, and by the loss of $175, and by the fact that this is the 2nd year in a row.  Last year was because of a much more prominent injury though.  But I’ll still go to the Expo to get my “free” t-shirt.  Chicago always gives the best ones…tech-wise, not design-wise.  They actually put zero effort into the design of last year’s shirt, but I do love the Nike Dri Fit shirts.


(This is not the one with absolutely no design effort – this one had probably one of their better designs I’d say.)

I was really hoping to come off of the Boston Marathon, take a few weeks of rest, then start training again for Chicago to break 3:20.  But with a somewhat nagging injury, starting a new job and moving, and general lack of hustle, it hasn’t happened.

I have no idea what (longer distance) races I’ll do next.  I keep telling myself and everyone around me that I need to not do another marathon for awhile…until I lose 10 pounds and get back to college racing weight or until I run a 1:30 half, etc.  Those things might not ever happen but I’d like to think so if I try really hard.

So ideally, I will focus on some shorter distance races and getting my speed back throughout the winter and then pick a spring half marathon to really race and keep chipping away at my PR.  And by “keep” chipping away, I mean I did it once since 2007.

But also, let’s just get real and remember Boston registration opens in 2 weeks and LA registration opened today…so I might decide to register for 1 on a whim.  (The Olympic Marathon Trials are being held the day before the LA Marathon and I would LOVE to go watch.)

Just yesterday I decided to really commit to eating healthier (I’ve had a much worse diet since working in a real office again downtown and living at home with my parents).  As far as the working-out goes, I’m just trying to get back into a routine of making myself workout every weekday, no matter what it is.  And lately that has only been either a 4 mile run or an Orange Theory class.  Actually, on Monday night I decided to get wild and run 4 miles to Orange Theory and then do the class…but I majorly regretted that decision as I tried to get through my 4 mile run yesterday morning.

I really don’t know what I’ll do for the Chicago Marathon this year; I can run it and plan to drop out when I’ve had enough (likely around the halfway point, which is conveniently located downtown), or just say YOLO and actually decide to run the whole thing while trying to have fun but know I’m going to be in an extreme amount of misery, or I can watch the race and cheer on friends.  All seem like decent options, so it will probably be more of a game-time decision.

So I guess all that’s really settled is that I in no way will be running it for any sort of time goal if I do run it.  No matter what, I know it will be a fun weekend as always and will get to see a lot of my best running friends and former co-workers :)

Sweaty Bands at Boston Marathon expo 2015

Also, I’d say the thing I’m most excited about is that now I can go to the expo and wear my Boston jacket, because I think that’s just what you’re supposed to do: wear your Boston jacket to any future race related event or expo so everyone else can wish they had one.  I always did.

What is your favorite brand/type of “free” race shirt?

Do you get Boston jacket-envy when you see people with them at race expos?

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