Tag Archives: Vacation

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

Pre-Race:

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

Chicago Marathon 2015: Week 3 Training & Captiva Vacation

Since I had my IT band injury reoccur on Monday and I was on vacation last week, I decided it might be good to take a few days completely off.  However, since I was on vacation and eating out the entire time and drinking a few beachy cocktails, I didn’t want to do absolutely nothing, so I did test out the leg a little.

Monday – 4.9 miles – mile repeat workout

Tuesday – OFF

Wednesday – 3.1 miles

Thursday – 20 mins elliptical + 1 mile treadmill

Friday – OFF

Saturday – OFF

Sunday – OFF

Total – 9 miles + 20 minutes elliptical

I’m happy to report that I’ve started running again this week and hope that it will continue to be pain-free, at least for awhile.  I have had some slight issues, but not with the IT band.

Hmm what else to say about running last week?  Not much really, so instead let’s talk about what else I did on vacation…

Reading:

I actually only read one book while I was there.  I spent a lot more time just laying and not reading.  The book I read was This Is Where I Leave You.  It was good, but nothing great really.  It was made in to a movie last year, so I do look forward to seeing the adaptation from the book to the movie.

Eating/Drinking:

I don’t think I was ever hungry on this trip.  I was a bit thirsty for water since it was so hot, but I had my share of poolside beachy cocktails.

 Captiva reading and cocktails

Every morning, we had a continental breakfast.  There was a plethora of bagels, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc. but I limited myself to just 1 of those of day and filled up on fruit.

Lunch was had at the pool every day.  Grilled cheese or grouper tacos were my go-to for lunch.

Actually, grouper was what I had for dinner every night I think.  But I did switch it up once with some salmon.  My one request for all of vacation was ice cream, so we got that one night for dessert.

Shopping:

My brother Patrick was getting to Florida a day later than the rest of us, so we had to go back on the mainland to pick him up from the airport.  So this meant my dad had to pick him up from the airport while the rest of us went to the outlet mall :)

I scored a few new items to add to my work wardrobe and a beachy hat from the LOFT.  Then we were just meandering around and I happened to go into the Adidas store.  They had 2015 Boston Marathon apparel for 60% off!!  So obviously I needed to get a few more items.

 Beachy hat

Itchiness:

I had approximately 35 mosquito bites.  The majority of which were on my arms, back, and feet.  Since there were significantly less on my legs, I assume most occurred on this night, when I was wearing a maxi dress:

 family at Mucky Duck

Do you like reading books that have been made into a movie?  What is your favorite?

Are you prone to mosquito bites?  Nobody else in my family got nearly this many.

Chicago Marathon 2015: Week 2 Training

Another low-mileage week, but decided that’s OK and the real training is going to start this current week now that Chicago 16 weeks away!  No more “next week…”  I’ve just been struggling hard to get mileage since Boston and I feel so slow.  I assume that’s due to the hotter temps and higher humidity.  My body needs to get adjusted still.

Monday – 4.1 miles

Tuesday – 5.8 miles

Wednesday – OFF

Thursday – 4.9 miles

Friday – 3.4 miles

Saturday – 3.6 miles

Sunday – spinning class

Total – 21.8 miles + 1 spinning class

Essentially, the week was the same as last week – about 22 miles in 5 days of running + 1 cross training day.  Obviously I need to up the mileage considerably so I am at least running 26.2 miles over the span of a week!  And of course…a long run sometime in the week at least in the double digits.

Kristin and I went to get fro yo on Saturday night and she asked me to join her for a CycleBar class on Sunday morning and I thought that sounded like a great idea.  It’s a fancy studio where you also do arm weights while biking and they have screens where you can see how you rank amongst the others in the class.  Now, I couldn’t see the screens that well because I didn’t have my glasses on, but I ended up 19th out of 26 riders.  Biking isn’t my strong point, but I’d like to get better!  My “CycleStats” say I rode 17.86 miles for the 50 minute class.

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After the class, I even went next door to Whole Foods to try out one of their green juices.  It was a very healthy morning.

Going into this week, I do have specific workouts planned for today (treadmill workout after work!) and tomorrow (early morning run with my friend Mackenzie!).  Then I will be in Florida from Wednesday – Sunday!!  The high is 92 each day… so my runs are gonna need to happen first thing in the morning, but I’m sure I’ll be loving the change of scenery.

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(photo from our trip there last May)

Wednesday will likely be a day off since that it our travel day and I will not want to run in that 92 degree weather right when I get to the island.  I plan to head straight to the pool.  I even just loaded 2 new books onto my Kindle – The Paris Wife  and This Is Where I Leave You.  I’m also about 2/3 done with The Girl on the Train, but it’s soooo good that I plan to finish it up ASAP.  Not tonight though; tonight all my attention is for The Bachelorette.

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I  started the book on Saturday afternoon at Starbucks while it was raining…

But besides the reading on vacation, I do hope to get in some quality runs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  My mom loves to do a bike ride through a nature preserve which is 13 miles round trip, so I might try to make that my long run while she bikes.  She does it leisurely to stop and take pictures of wildlife anyways so I’m sure I could keep up ;)

Have you read The Paris Wife, This Is Where I Leave You, or The Girl on the Train?  What did you think??  Don’t give me any spoilers though!!

Do you run when you’re on vacation? Normally I wouldn’t make it a priority, but since this one falls right at the start of marathon training and I’ve been having pretty weak weeks lately, I need to be strong this week!

Boston Marathon 2015: Post-Race

I have to say that I think Boston was the coldest I’ve ever been after a race.  I can’t say the coldest I’ve ever been ever, because Polar Vortex #Chiberia2014.  But at least then I wasn’t wearing a tank top and shorts… I wish I could be like Elsa and say the cold never bothered me anyway, but it does.

I took a water bottle and my medal of course but didn’t care for whatever else they were trying to hand out.  I just needed to get me one of those fancy space blankets ASAP.

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Angela and I slowly made our way to the street and walked the really really far way to the gear check.  It probably wasn’t THAT far, but it felt like it because every step was a shivering struggle.  Also, I made sure to check my Fitbit.  In case you were wondering, the marathon was about 36k steps I think.  I was at almost 8k when we got to the start line and almost 44k when we finished.  I finished up the day with over 55k, so there was obviously a considerable amount of steps (more than I get in some days), between the finish to gear check to family reunite to the T to the hotel…and then back to the T and out to dinner and then back to the hotel.

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The distance is way off because even after we finished the race it said 26.02 miles.  Whenever I do a 5 mile run, my Fitbit only thinks it was 3-3.5 miles.  Something with the calibration and such.  The number of floors climbed is interesting – shows how hilly it was.  Essentially we ran a marathon and climbed the Sears Tower at the same time.

But to backtrack…after we made it to the gear check, despite thinking we never actually would, we got our bags and the first priority was to get out of all wet clothing.  Second priority was to social media and alert the world that I finished the Boston Marathon, but my fingers were too number to handle my phone and wrapping myself in the space blanket was more necessary.  Angela was having better luck with the numbness factor and got her phone on so we could meet up with Olivia and with my family.

When I finally did get my phone on, I had 60 text messages. Way to go, friends! I am thankful to have so many friends and family that wished me well and wanted to follow along by receiving my updates.

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Unfortunately, my family got stuck on the T lines somewhere trying to get to the finish, so we resolved to meet them back at the hotel.

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(This was a picture from the day before at the Red Sox game…no pictures readily available from race day due to the rain.)  They were at least able to take shelter and use the bathroom in a church near where they were spectating.

Right off the T stop where our hotel was, stood a Dunkin Donuts.  This proved to be our saving grace for bagels and coffee throughout the weekend.  And on the way back from the race, we stopped for coffee and a 25-pack of munchkins.  Probably the best post-marathon decision we could have made.  Shalane Flanagan was craving a post-race donut as well, so I felt like we really did the right thing.

After a shower, combing the nasty knots from our hair, and a soak in the hot tub at the hotel, we made our way back downtown for dinner.  The plan was Union Oyster House and even though there was a 2-hour wait, we figured it was worth it.  Uncle Dave knew of a place down the street that specialized in French fries, so we hit that up for fries and a few beers.

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And how could I forget that race day was Angela’s birthday?! During the race, I convinced some other runners and water stop volunteers to yell/sing happy birthday to her :) It was only appropriate to get dessert and she wanted a Boston Creme Pie.

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Meanwhile, the alderman wanted no part of dinner.  He had official city business to listen to.  He is very important, has many leather-bound books, and his apartment (or our house) smells of rich mahogany.

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On Tuesday morning, I woke up in a considerable amount of pain that only got worse as the day went on.  But we had beers to drink at the Sam Adams Brewery!  We headed there right when it opened, got a quick tour, and then got to taste some beers, including the exclusive 26.2 Brew.

Fun fact: I’ve never seen my mom drink beer (she’s a wine-o) but she was loving the Sam Adams Summer Ale.

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Angela had to head to the airport after the brewery, but my parents and I had more sightseeing to do. We walked some of the Freedom Trail, which was just about the last thing I wanted to be doing. Then, after an Italian pasta dinner, we called it an early night and retreated to the hotel.

I was flying out on Wednesday, but we had some time in the morning to go to the JFK Presidential Library. Spoiler alert: “Someone shot that poor President.” – Forrest Gump

What is the coldest you have ever been?

What would be the last thing you would want to do the day after running a marathon?

Long Weekend in (Much) Warmer Weather

I’m back in the cold arctic temperatures that seem so common in Chicago this winter, after having just been in Phoenix, Arizona for the past couple days.  If you recall, I was originally supposed to go to run the Phoenix Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon, but neither Liz nor I had been training, so we decided to opt out in order to save money and have more time to catch up with all the other girls for a vacation weekend.

Even though we didn’t race, we did get in a lot of physical activity!  Which balanced out with all the eating at great restaurants and drinking new, fruity cocktails we did.

We hiked up a mountain:


On the hike, Liz conquered her fear of cacti:


OK, maybe she didn’t actually touch THAT cactus, but she did touch a little baby one.

We did a lot of chatting, playing “Heads Up” (hilarious game, I highly recommend it), and dancing:

We explored Old Town Scottsdale:


And we took a walk on a beautiful recreation path filled with runners, walkers, and bikers (OK, so they were mostly all retired people).  This is where I want to retire to…like now, only about 30 years early:


Did you know that Scottsdale is one of the most livable cities in America because of the proximity of grocery stores, gas stations, etc. and a recreational path all around?

Liz and I also went for a 5 mile run one morning on the same walking path.  And I have to say that almost the whole time we ran, we TALKED about running-related topics – running form, our training, what races we want to do, and even doing some triathlons.

My legs felt great on the run, but I was winded.  I imagine it was the combo of the weather change, all the talking, and just not being back in super great of shape just yet.  But I’m so glad we got out there and took advantage of the perfect weather!  It felt just like fall cross country season.

It felt amazing to be outside so much in January!  But now it’s back to being bundled up and stuck indoors for the majority of the days.  I’m hoping to get in some shorter treadmill runs and weights over the next few days and then another run of 10-12 miles outside if the weather allows this weekend!  It currently says it will be a high of 30 on Saturday so let’s all hope it stays that way!

Quality Miles, Not Quantity

I’ve been slacking on running.  But improving on weight lifting!  I’m gonna be soooo strong.  And that is extremely sarcastic.  But I do want to have a much stronger core and upper body for the purpose of running faster.  I am pretty sure I slouch when I run and that is not good.  I did my weights 2 days last week and did them yesterday and plan to again on Wednesday and Friday.

My workouts last week:

Mondayweights
Tuesday – REST
Wednesday – weights
Thursday – REST
Saturday4 hour hike
Sunday –  59 minute trail run
Total Mileage =17 miles

So that obviously wasn’t as much running as I’d like.  I can’t even blame it on the travel because the running I did do was while I was in Denver.  At least I can feel confident that it was quality training.  The combination of the altitude and the hills and terrain will whip you into shape fast! Quality of miles is more important than quantity of miles for half marathons I think. Full marathons might be the opposite.

My goal for last week was 30 miles.  And like usual, I came up short.  There are still 9 weeks left until the Phoenix Half Marathon.  I just need to learn how to motivate myself.  I haven’t gotten up early to run before work on a weekday since at least June.  And it’s so much harder to after work now that it’s dark so early and it’s so cold.  But I say that all the time.  Time to suck it up and deal with either the cold/darkness or the treadmill.

I’m getting better at taking pictures at least.  Maybe that was just because I was on vacation though.  I can do a sweet side braid in my hair.  Positive self talk!  I hope it works because I need to head out the door on my run now  :)

Here’s what’s hot in Chicago right now:


Christmas 24/7 on the radio!!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (but not for running) Remember when I listened to Christmas music in August??

Also speaking of music, I’m desperately waiting for Katy Perry to announce her US tour dates.  She made it seem like she would do so yesterday, but only announced her UK dates. Up until I went to the Bon Jovi concert with Christina a few weeks ago, I had only ever been to country concerts but I would LOVE to see Katy Perry.

How do you manage negative thoughts if you don’t meet your training goals?

Do you save Christmas music for after Thanksgiving or are you already listening?

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