Saturday, June 30, 2012

My first 20 miler

Last night when I checked  I was super worried about the weather this morning and what it would be like.  It said 40% chance of rain at 4,5,6 and 7a.m.  all of those hours I knew I'd be running.  Rain doesn't bother me so much, but lightening does and you shouldn't run in it.

When I woke at 3:45a.m. I didn't hear rain so that was nice.  I got dressed in my running clothes and ate 1/3rd of a banana.  I checked and to my surprise it was only a 10% chance of rain until 6a.m. which said 30% chance.  So I set out for my journey soon after.  While running in the first mile I did see some lightening, but it was up in clouds and very distant so I continued running. I had a pain in the top of my right foot that hurt pretty bad, but by mile 4 that pain finally melted away.  I ran 6 miles before needing a bathroom so I was pleased to see some porta potties near some new home construction sites.  I was glad someone had just cleaned them and put fresh TP in them.  After that I ran another 1.75 miles when my friend Rhoni Jo texted me to tell me she was at my house.  Soon after I heard thunder and then it began to pour rain.  I ran faster.  Another text came in from Rhoni Jo and she asked me if she could pick me up.  I ran even faster and got home soaking wet.  I was worried I'd be hit by lightening because it was coming down, but I was near very big homes and trees so I was sure I'd be okay.

I arrived home and my Garmin GPS watch said I had run 9.20 miles so I still had quite far to go.  I changed into a completely new running outfit so I was dry and re-applied a bunch of Body Glide.  I even changed my shoes.

After changing Rhoni Jo and I looked at the weather online and decided that running the same course I had planned wouldn't be good because that storm I had just been caught in was still pouring rain out and there was another storm right behind it.  However to the north in Coralville, and North Liberty which was just a couple miles north there wasn't rain at all, so I drove my car near the mall, parked and we ran on trails and in neighborhoods there.  After about 2 miles I was so ready to be done.  I didn't say anything, but I was just so tired.  Thank goodness Rhoni Jo is such a supportive friend running with me because she is the one that kept me going to help me reach my goal.  Another three miles passed and I mentioned something about being tired and slow and then she said, "We are faster than those sitting at home."  We ran by a garage sale, we ran up and down hills, and then we ran by what seemed to be a 5K course being set up. Then we saw these ladies setting up tables and water cups.  I think I asked what race it was or something because next thing we know is we were asked to help pass out water to the racers.  We said we would run another few minutes and come back to help.  We did just that and helped pass out water to racers for about 10 or so minutes but I could feel myself stiffening up so I was hoping to be running again soon.  Very soon we were off to run our last 5 miles.

By this time it was getting super humid out.  I think it was about 8:30a.m. and I was at mile 18 when my body was just saying NO.  I even blurted out quite suddenly once, "We need to walk!"  My right calf seemed like it was going to explode, but as soon as we walked it felt much better.  We made it to the car when my Garmin said 19.52 and then we did a cool down walk to get to my 20 miles.    

After all this we came back to my house to stretch and then Rhoni Jo went home.

I stretched more, showered and ate a little something, but felt quite nauseous over all.  I iced my top of my foot, my right calf and my low back and then other areas that had kind of bothered me.  The nausea never went away until several hours later.  I think I felt this way because of the heat and what I had put my body through.   The total time was 4 hours and 20 minutes which comes out to be a 12.99 running pace.  Every training book I have read says to run 1.5 to 2 minutes slower than your race pace and it seems on my half marathon races I usually run an 11 minute mile so I'm right on track.

It's now almost 12 hours later and I'm sore in several places and not walking up to speed, but I feel tons better than earlier and also feel great that I'm closer to my marathon goal.  I know I can do this now because I'm only a 10K away from the actual distance.  In my training plan I have a couple more 20 milers planned, one 21 miler and one 22 miler.  

I just want to say a huge Thank you to Rhoni Jo for meeting me this morning to do those last 10 miles with me, that ended up being almost 11 miles.  I know I completed this long HOT run today because of her.

2012 Hog Wild Days 5K--Hiawatha, Iowa

Saturday, June 23rd was a nice cooler morning for June. The temperature was in the 70's and the humidity was medium. Tracy met me at the house, then I picked up Stephany and Rhoni Jo, then we traveled to the race. Rhoni Jo picked up all our packets the night before so we didn't have to wait in line for those. All you had to do race morning was get your timing chip. That went quick so we had time to get a couple pictures of us, and a picture of our shoes and do any last minute warm ups.

 The race started on time and seemed to be within a tenth of the advertised distance. After the race there were many door prizes. Alyssa won a gift certificate to a new running store in North Liberty called We Run.  She was super excited about getting to spend her gift card.  I won a Road ID gift certificate and since I have two different ones already I had Alyssa pick out one for her.
My friend Rhoni Jo also won a gift certificate to We Run and my friend Bill won a Nike sports watch.  There were trophies for first place overall and first place in your age group and the trophies looked really cool.
There were granola bars, watermelon, bagels and biscuits from Hardees along with water and Gatorade after the race.

The course seemed mostly blocked to traffic so you could run down the middle of the street.  I would do this race again.

Lastly I just want to say that my group of running friends has grown and I truly enjoy running races with friends.  So fun.

If you are set on seeing results then click here.

Left to Right:  Me, Alyssa, Tracy, Stephany, Rhoni Jo

Our shoes with the timing chip

Rhoni Jo, Lisa, Kris, Stephany, Melissa, Me, Alyssa, Tracy and Bill

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2012 Warrior Dash Illinois--Channahon, IL

The photos will tell the story the best so there are a bunch.

Tracy and I had this crazy idea that doing a Muddy obstacle race would be fun! It was FUN! It was a total BLAST!!!   If you like to play in the mud even a little bit and you like the challenge of doing a HARD race, then I totally recommend this.  It's about a 5K distance.  We picked Saturday, June 16th to complete our Warrior Dash.  We both brought waterproof cameras so we could get a piece of all the action. I thought the day was just amazing and I was glad we did it. Here are some helpful hints that you should follow if you are planning on doing one of these races:
Wear compression shorts or bike shorts or something that hold your loose thigh skin in. Can be under the costume, but trust me, I wish I had worn these.
If you have bad knees or super sensitive knees then wear knee pads.
Wear gloves if you don't have rough warrior hands and don't want scratches or cuts.
If you don't want bruises, scrapes, cuts, or scratches of any kind, then skip the obstacles.
If you don't like to play in the mud then you should stay home.
We were almost to the farm where the Warrior Dash began and
saw a couple police officers getting ready to cover a stop sign
with a plastic bag.  I thought it was funny that one policeman
had a warrior helmet on.  This is one example of how the entire
town gets into this race.

Many signs leading to the race, you will
NOT get lost getting there.

The start line.  Every few minutes fire came out of the sign.

Obstacle#1--The Trenches.  You crawl under boards on dirt
and rocks.  This is where gloves and knee pads would have
been real nice.

Obstacle #2--Mortimer's Crossing.  You balance your way
across the wobbly rope.  This one was a little scary for me.

Obstacle #3  Verticle Limit.  You scale to the summit on a
rock climbing type wall, then slide down a pole on the
other side.  Now I must have missed this part in my reading
of the obstacles because I'm not a far of heights.  Sliding down
the pole was hard for me.  I could reach the pole as you will see
in the next picture, but couldn't quite get the rest of my
body to it.  I finally jumped, but I swear my thigh skin was
still at the top of the pole when I was at the bottom.

Back side of obstacle #3.  Scariest part
of race for me.  I actually screamed on
the way down.

Obstacle #4 called Storming Normandy.  You had to
military crawl under barbed wire.

Obstacle #5  Vicious Valleys.  I didn't
like this one.  I felt it was hard on the feet
and body to get through it.  

Obstacle #6  Petrifying Plunge.  You had to
slide down a long muddy slide to a mud pit.
You would get stuck at the bottom in the mud
for a second and then you could climb out.
A volunteer helped pull me out of this pit.

Tracy and I after obstacle #6.  If you are
not muddy by this point then you skipped
the obstacles.

Obstacle #7  Road Rage.  You stampede your way through
rusted wreckage and tires.  Here is Tracy posing.

Me totally posing.  By the way, the cars are a little slick because a lot of
wet bodies have gone over them.  Be careful on this one.

Obstacle #8  Hard Rain.  You climb up this
with lots of water coming down at you.
I found this one a bit tricky, but refreshing.

Obstacle #9  Great Warrior Wall.  If you
aren't a climber, then I suggest practicing
pushups for upper body strength.

Obstacle #10  Chaotic Crossover.  Basically you climb over
a cargo net and try not to fall through.  I was very slow on this
and was being passed by Wave #3 at this point.  

Obstacle #11  Giant Cliff hanger.  This wasn't that hard for me,
however I heard that later in the day when this was super muddy
that it is almost impossible to climb, so gloves here would
be very helpful.

Obstacle #12  Cargo Climb.  You have to climb to the top of this.
then do climb down.  It may look easy, but it's not.  By this
point I was wishing I had gloves. Lots of ropes and climbing.

The is actually obstacle #14.  I missed the fire jumping.  I tried to
hold back and have Tracy get a picture of me fire jumping, but
because of the danger of it, there was a Warrior Dash worker that
told us to move along and not stop.  Dang I really wanted a picture
of me jumping over fire.  Next time.  So anyway, this is the last obstacle
and you have to go under the barbed wire to get to the finish line.  You
are extremely muddy by the point.

Me stopping to pose.  I had mud in my hand and decided to
smear it on my face.  Gross.  But seriously by this point
you have mud in several places you didn't think the mud
could get to, so you might as well have it on your face.  I
actually look super mildly muddy compared to some we saw
later on.

Tracy and I taking our traditional "Picture of ourselves" while
still in the mud pit.

Getting hosed off after.  Very cold by the way.

Tracy and I with our Warrior Dash finishing medals.  Well deserved.

A silly guy in a Flash costume posing
for me.

I actually spent the money and bought a giant turkey leg
to celebrate like a warrior.  The turkey was not the good by
the way and I wouldn't recommend it.  Just looked
good for a picture.

The crazy warrior was posing for me also.  He
was complete with fairy wings, speedo, stuffed bra
and a wig.  He was very hairy and muddy.

The shirt.

My bib number, medal and warrior helmet.

washing off in the shower at the hotel.  I actually showered
with my clothes on at first to get all the mud out of them.
The mud trial continued for what seemed like 10 minutes.
I had mud in many places I didn't think mud could get to.

Tracy was so smart because she is the one that recommended the early wave so we could go back to the hotel after the race and shower. What a great idea.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

17.08 Miles

I just wanted to share my experience about this distance.

I have never run this far before. I actually never thought I would. Take for instance 2 years ago when I started running, the thought of doing anything more than a 5K seemed seriously impossible. My goal back then was to complete that distance and even that seemed super hard.

This is where I truly believe that whatever we set our minds to do and whatever we set our goals to do is what we will end up achieving as long as we do not loose site of that goal.

Many of you have made goals in your life, some you have achieved and some you simply forgotten or put aside. Why? Because sometimes life happens and you are unable to do what you have set. I believe that you must write down your goal, tell several people who care about your goal, write a plan and then start acting on it.

My ultimate goal right now is to complete a marathon and not only finish it, but to do it in a way that I’m not hurting for days or weeks later. I first registered for this back on May 6th. It was on a whim because I was on a serious runner’s high from the Half Marathon I had just completed the day before. The next day I freaked out and couldn’t believe what I had just registered for.

So then I had to make a serious plan for such an event. I booked the hotel my family and I would stay in. That felt like enough, but it wasn’t. I then wrote out a huge calendar of training miles and how I felt I would train. I then talked to several people that have completed multiple marathons. The advice I kept getting over and over was to do as many 20 milers and longer that I could thus making the day of the marathon easier on my legs because they would be used to the long distance.

So this now brings me to my 17.08 miler. I knew all week that I needed to do it on Thursday because on Saturday of that week I would be out of town. I also knew that with working at 7:45a.m. and being the slow runner that I am, that I would have to get up at a horrible early hour to complete this. I set the alarm for 3:55a.m. however my body woke me at 3:35a.m. and so I began to prepare for the run. I prepared by body gliding every part that might rub, drinking more water, eating half a banana, setting the Garmin GPS watch to look for satellites so I could track my distance and then I left. I didn’t end up leaving until 4:20 a.m. Why it took me so long to get ready I really don’t know.

So I left and I have to say it was a very enjoyable run. I decided to visit every street I could. I turned down every Court, Street, Avenue, Lane, etc. that I could find. At mile 3ish I felt the urge to pee badly. Thank goodness at the end of the street it was a field and the field went way back behind houses with lots of trees. I did my business in the nearly dark world. Thank goodness for my awesome squatting skills and the babywipes I had packed along with an extra zip lock bag to put the used baby wipes. If this is TMI by this point then you might as well just stop reading.

Mile 4 and 5 went well until I had that urge again. What was wrong with me? Thankfully I found a port-a-pottie by a new construction home. I used it and was even happier to find it fully stocked with TP!

I did a long loop and around mile 11 I used that same pottie again. During this last loop I saw 11 deer. Deer were something I never had the opportunity to see while running. I’ve seen a lot of bunnies, squirrels and birds, but never deer so to see 11 was amazing. Such a beautiful sight.

By mile 12ish, I came back to the spot where I had set a water to drink. The water was still cold and super refreshing. I filled up my side water that I wear on my hip and went on my way.

I did a short loop of 3 miles, total of 15ish and was back to where my water was. The water was gone. I was confused as my Gu packet was still there, but no water.

I looked across the street to see an older lady with a grocery bag and it looked like she was picking up trash.

I yelled across the street at her saying, “Did you happen to pick up a water that was right here?” She said, “Yes” Then I said in a very NOT NICE tone, “That water was purposely put there by me. I just ran 15 miles and I really needed it.” Then I ran away. I was ticked.

I ran home and got some water, then completed the last mile until I had to return home to stretch shower and go to work.

I made the mistake of not having enough time to stretch. I rushed a few stretches, showered way too quickly and then drove off to work. As a result of this I was hurting all day long, into the night, then I hurt all day the next day and into the next night. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I began to feel better. I thought I had seriously injured myself, but really all it came down to was muscle tightness.

On June 30th I have scheduled to do 19-20 miles! I’m ready.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

2012 Holiday Lake Triathlon-Brooklyn, Iowa

This post really should start the night before, or months before.  Back in January my friend Rhoni Jo and I decided that we could do a Triathlon.  We had just completed the North Dodge Athletic Club Indoor Tri and felt confident that we could take on a real one outdoors.  Now that I look back at that thought I think I was crazy that day and on some type of racing high.  We both signed up together online and then I signed up Jason as well because I had promised him a couple years ago that someday I would do a triathlon with him.

The serious training began.  In February when I received our tax return I bought a bike  picture of it online.  However my bike has a black seat and as soon as the handlebar tape wears out I will replace it with black tape.

In March- May I started running more, biking more and swimming more. Rhoni Jo and I would check in daily to see how each other was doing.  We both shared our freak out feelings of being in this triathlon and wondered if we could finish.   Looking back I should have swam more in open water.  I only did that twice and that hurt me in the end because I couldn't calm down enough to swim well.

The night before the race both Jason and I made a list of everything we would need to pack for transitions and for the race itself.   I wasn't able to calm down and felt like I was having a mini anxiety attack.  My heart was pounding and I was snapping at everyone.  I couldn't even talk to my friend on the phone.  I was just not feeling good at all.   Jason put the bike rack on the car.  Then we went to bed.

5:15 on race day we arose to get ready.  I ate a banana and finished packing my last minute stuff.  Then body glided every part of my body that might rub, put on my triathlon suit, got up our two children that were traveling with us then left for Brooklyn.  We arrived right around 7a.m. to Brooklyn and got a great parking space.  Some volunteers at the race hauled us and all our stuff, including bikes in their golf carts to the race transition part.  We then parked our bikes and picked up our packet.  The packet had some nice things in it.  A small towel, swim cap, Hammer Gel Gu, flashlight, chapstick, gatorade and a few other items.  I found out at this point that I was number 13!  I couldn't believe it.  Of all the numbers in the race and I get my most favorite number.  I was thrilled and let them know it.  After race packet pickup we had our body marked with our numbers then waited a while for the race to begin.

I would have preferred an early morning race start like at 7 or 8a.m., but it didn't start till 9a.m.  Hopefully next year they will change this.  The other thing I would LOVE changed is the race course for the run, which you will read about in a minute.  Other than that here are the things I loved:

The organization of the entire race:  Everything went smoothly from packet pickup to knowing where to be and when and postrace.

Amazing volunteers and plenty of them:  I should have taken pictures of many of the volunteers that sat in the heat for over 2 hours to give us a great race.  The volunteers were fabulous and you can't have a really great race without a bunch of volunteers.

Chip timing:  We had transponders on our ankles that obviously worked super well because my times matched my Garmin GPS watch.  I was happy with the accurate results.

Race bib:  I love having a race bib from a race for my scrapbook, it just means a lot to me.

Food after race:  Lots of food after the race. I have a picture below of some of it.

The race itself was fabulous, my hardest part of the race was the swim.  I thought I was a pretty good swimmer.  However, I haven't practiced in open water enough because I totally had either a panic attack or anxiety attack or something.  I completely freaked out in the water and was breathing horribly.  Finally I just decided that I either needed to finish or get out of the water. I flipped to my back and swam backstroke for a while, stopped to see where I was at, then did it again.  I kept running into the buoys and rope, so I'd have to untangle myself and move on.  But I finished it and as soon as I could touch the ground of the lake I said loudly, "I can touch, I MADE IT and I didn't die."  I had tears of joy and felt like anything was possible after this point.  

The bike portion was difficult, lots of long hills, but I just took each hill one at a time and celebrated each time I got to the top of the hill by riding as fast as my bike would take me down.  It was slightly windy, enough that sometimes it made it even harder to climb the hills, but I did it.  At this point of the race I felt like the next part would be easy since I like to run and that doesn't seem to be much of a challenge for me.  I was wrong.

The 5K course was the hardest 5K I have ever run in my 70 plus 5K races.  There were multiple steep hills and it was one after another with lots of loose gravel so it was hard to run the down hills without slipping.  No one in the world could have picked a harder 5K course I don't think.  Everyone was saying how very difficult it was and only the very elite runners that usually can run 5K races in 18 minutes or less were running those hills to the top.  I was in shock how hard it was and here I thought this part of the race would be my easiest.

The finish was sweet.  I was nearing the end and I could hear people and I just felt amazing inside, and a volunteer mentioned we were close to the end.  There was a guy up a head of me and I was determined to pass him.  I did pass him and finished strong.  Lots of pictures below to enjoy.

Great race!

Our results:
Jason Clark Iowa City IA  9:47 swim  3:10-for transition one   48:45 bike time  2:17 for transition 2     32:39 for 5K run 10:31pace of that run.  Total time 1:36:37.   57th place of 92 Men
Swim place was 61st place of 126 total, Bike 41st of 126, Run 82nd of 126.  Overall place 65 of 126

Rhoni Jo Barnes Cedar Rapids IA  12:19 swim time,  2:39-for transition one   1:06:16  bike time 1:21 transition 2     38:28 for 5K run 12:23 pace of that run.  Total time 2:01:02.   26th of 34 Women.
Swim place 104th of 126, Bike 115 of 126, Run 111 of 126.  Overall 113th of 126

Michelle Clark Iowa City IA  15:30 swim time,  3:46-for transition one   1:05:00 bike time    1:16 for transition 2   38:02 for 5k run 12:15 pace Total time  2:03:32.  placed 27th of 34 Women.
Swim place 123 of 126, Bike 111 of 126, Run 109 of 126.  Overall 115 of 126

Interesting facts:  Youngest person to do this race was 13.  They placed 85 of 126 overall.
Oldest person was 65 years old and they placed 38th of 126.  See with age we do get better!

 For full results: click here

Our marked up legs.

Picture of Jason and I before the Tri

Brenden and Scott with Jason and I in the transition area.
Technically anyone racing isn't allowed in that area, but
the race officials said they could come in for a little bit
since it wasn't crowded yet, we were there very early.

Best numbers ever. Well at least for me.  #13 is
my lucky number and favorite number, so for
me to have this was the best thing ever!

Getting ready to start the race.  We both got in the water and
practiced.  I got used to the water fast and felt I'd be able to
have a great swim.

My friend Rhoni Jo finishing her swim portion.
If you look way out in the picture at someone's
arm getting tangled in a rope and it looks like
they are swimming backwards, that was me.  I
was like 4 swimmers from the end.
Jason out of the water going to his bike.

I actually was crying tears of joy to be done with that super
hard swimming in the lake thing.  First thing I said as
I could touch the bottom of the lake was "I can touch, I did it,
I didn't drown, it's over."  I was just so happy.
Brenden and Scott waiting for us by the lake.  They ended up
swimming a lot while waiting for us to finish the race.

Jason finishing his bike course, he did the 15.5 miles
in 48:45

Rhoni Jo finishing her bike.

Me finishing the bike portion.  What a relief.  I felt that the rest
of the tri would be easy after this.

Jason running in for the finish at the end of the 5K portion.

Me running in for the finish.  I had just passed that guy.

After the race

I was shocked to learn that I placed 3rd in my age
group.  I wondered how that could happen when I
was place 115 out of 126 total.  Either way I really like
the medal and it was a SWEET surprise!

A picture of some of the food after the race.
There was also water and gatorade and
 popsicles, carrots and liquid yogurts.

A towel in our packet

The shirt which I will wear often.

Cinnamon rolls Tracy made for my boys and us.  They
tasted amazing.  Tracy even made really cute signs and
cheered us on and watched my boys while we did the
race.  Thanks Tracy!

Rhoni Jo, Tracy, me and Jason after the race.