Monday, May 27, 2013

Bob Potts Marathon Recap

Crossing the Finish Line

I finished my 14th marathon! It was a great race dayI ran the Bob Potts Marathon in York, Pennsylvania. I chose that marathon because my husband needed to make a trip to PA and I thought it would be fun to run a marathon there. We visited some historical places like Gettysburg, Valley Forge, and DC, too.

Date: May 26, 2013

Results: This race is gun timed and the finishing clock showed 3:58:11.

Course: From the race page: "Our race is fast and flat! See the beautiful scenery of this historic trail (Heritage Rail Trail) along a railroad line. This is the same line that took Abraham Lincoln to Gettysburg to deliver his address."

Course: What I say (!): This course has rolling hills. (I'm from the Houston area and any slight hill is a hill to me!) I didn't notice the uphills until I was running the last half and noticed how often I ran downhill. The hill to the finish line is short, but terrible. It was the only bad hill, though. The hills were kind of a nice change from boring flatness. The course was mostly shaded. I saw woods, creeks, goats, horses, cows and I ran through a tunnel. Most of the course was a crushed rock surface.

Waving at the Marathon Start

Weather/Clothes: Nice weather: temps from 40-55 and clear skies.

Volunteers and Spectators: So thankful for them! I didn't have music, but the water stops, volunteers, spectators and keeping track of my time kept me occupied.

Parking: I don't think that the 500 or so runners had any trouble parking at the college where the race started and finished.

Expo: If I had needed something for the race, they probably would have had it even though the expo was tiny. They sold gels, Spibelts, Nathan water bottles, etc.

Fuel Pre-run: pancakes with jam

Race Shirt and Race Fuel

Fuel During Race: 6 Tri-berry GU gels taken at miles 4, 8, 12, 15, 18, 22; 1 pkg salty margarita Clif Shot Blocks taken between gels (total taken: 6 pieces). This was more fuel than I have ever taken during a marathon - an experiment!

Post-marathon Food: They provided pizza, but the banana and soft salty pretzels sounded best to me. I had some milk, too.

Unplanned Occurrences: I slowed quite a bit each time I ran through the dark tunnel. During the last few miles, my body wanted to veer/fall to my leftI think this has happened before. The last mile was the hardest. It felt too quiet  - the crowd was waiting at the finish line where I couldn't see them. All I had to do was make it up the hill, but that seemed so hard.  

To Improve: I needed 3:54:02 to PR and 3:55 to BQ. My goal is to do one or both of those someday!

Water Bottle Hand-off: Mile 20?

It's the Little Things: My husband met me during the race to take the Nathan hand held water bottle and to give me a fresh one. Although there were plenty of water stops, it was nice not to have to stop (except once) to grab water.

The race is an out and back. I like to see the runner's faces and to cheer for other runners. One woman who I had only seen from the back for miles was smiling to herself. I knew she was having a good race. Update: She won 2nd place in the 50-54 age group with a finish of about 3:56!

One other woman came up from behind me and said something about how we had been running nearby for awhile, but I didn't recognize her until she ran ahead and I saw the soles of her shoes! I realized that I had been staring at them for the first few miles.

I Finished my 14th Marathon!

Now I've run a marathon in 7 states. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to run another marathon. It felt so great to finish and get that medal!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Day Before the Marathon

My trip to the marathon continues... I ran a short 3 miles in DC before we left DC on Saturday. I ran by the White House and the Washington Monument. My legs were happy - not too tired from all of the biking my husband and I did in the last two days.

On our way out of DC, we saw Arlington Cemetery and then we drove out through the green and wooded Lincoln Highway and on to York, Pennsylvania and went to the Bob Potts Marathon Expo. It was tiny, but that was good. I didn't need to walk anymore that day.

After a pancake dinner at Cracker Barrel, I hit the hay. I tried hard to carb load for three days before the race, but I just could not eat as many carbohydrates as I had hoped I would. I drank Gatorade, a blueberry  scone from the Washington DC farmer's market (yum!), lots of bread and pancakes.

Of course, I woke up through the night to check the clock to make sure that I didn't sleep through the alarm. I think everyone does that! Then I finally woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off at 3:50 in order to get to the starting line by the 6AM start time.

It's getting hard to keep the days and trips straight, but I'm jumping ahead a bit! After the marathon, we went to Valley Forge. That house in the photo was used as officer's quarters. I loved the green rolling hills there and in many places that we saw on this trip through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and DC. There were many walkers, runners and bikers enjoying the trails at Valley Forge.

DC Running & Biking

On my short visit to Washington DC with my husband, I had the chance to run on two days up and down the National Mall. I saw the White House, the US Capitol, the Smithsonian Musuems and Castle, the Lincoln Memorial... Well, everything along the Mall! There were lots of other runners out, too. The area is kept very clean and everywhere you turn, there are picture taking opportunities. So, the week before the marathon, I ran 6 and then 7 miles in Pittsburgh. Then I ran 5 and then 3 miles in DC. This is a low mileage week because I'm running in a marathon tomorrow.

The bike lanes are in the middle of the streets, which actually worked out fine. We biked for hours using the Bikeshare bikes that we found near the National Mall and the George Washington University area where we stayed. We visited the Smithsonian American History Museum and stopped at all of the Memorials. I loved biking and running at the National Mall.

A link to a video of us riding through DC:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

From Pittsburgh to DC

I'm on vacation! We had dinner in DC tonight and my husband proved he's more fun than I am. He talked me into renting bikes today rather than waiting until tomorrow. We rode over to the National Mall. (That's me at the WWII Memorial.)

We were able to see much more than we could have had we been walking: the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and Washington Monument. We didn't have time to see everything at the National Mall, but there's always tomorrow. 

I didn't realize how pretty Pennsylvania is with green hills and woods, too. It was a scenic drive to DC from Pittsburgh. We stopped at Fort Ligonier for a history lesson.

We also stopped by the Flight 93 Memorial - a solemn visit to remember the heroes on that flight. Being there was a good reminder to keep their families in our prayers. It's a nice memorial with each person's name on the wall.

As far as marathon preparation goes for the marathon I'm running this weekend, I'm carb loading, but trying not to overeat. It's a fine line. Tomorrow I get to run in DC!

Running in Pittsburgh

I'm in Pittsburgh! When I learned that my husband and I would be going to Pittsburgh, I found a marathon in York, PA, which I'm running this weekend!

I ran 6 easy miles on Tuesday and 7 miles on Wednesday. 2.5 of those 7 miles was done on the treadmill because I wanted to get down to marathon pace and it's so warm outside.

I ran through downtown Pittsburgh each day in order to get to North Shore Riverfront Park where I ran along the Allegheny River. Running through downtown was not good - lots of stopping, lots of smokers. And it was good, too - the architecture is really interesting because of old buildings like the county courthouse built in 1888. I ran on bright yellow suspension bridges over the Allegheny river and then along the river.

I did touristy things when I ran. I took pictures of the Canadian geese with their little ones. It's my first time to see some in person.

I ran over to Point State Park where the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. I was happy to find the Block House, which was used during the French and Indian war in the mid 1700's, a trading post and a home. I was even able to go inside!

We ate at Primanti Bros., which we had seen on a TV show. They put fries and cole slaw right on your sandwich like they used to for the truckers who needed a meal they could hold in their hand.

I took the top picture from the south side of the city overlooking the Monongahela River. That's where we found the Milkshake Factory. I recommend the "piece of cake" flavor. If you live too far away from The Milkshake Factory, mix chocolate sauce and some cake into homemade ice cream at home and you're good!

I hear it may actually be cool on race day morning!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Last Week of Taper

I'll be running a marathon in York, PA, on May 26! My last week of workouts comes from the book Advanced Marathoning (first edition) and is about the same as I've done before previous marathons. Here's what's planned:

Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: 7 miles with 2 marathon paced miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 4 miles

I plan to use Triberry Gu gels and Gatorade. I'm bringing salt tablets, too. I've practiced with salt tablets in training, but sometimes I have trouble getting them into my mouth. During the Kona Marathon, my bag of salt tabs fell out of my pocket. I dropped them yesterday, too.

Yesterday, I ran 12 miles in the humidity. Humidity makes running kind of uncomfortable, but it's probably good training for a possibly humid race. And when you're finished running, strangers can have fun telling you that it looks like you fell into a swimming pool and everyone can have a good laugh.

During the run, I drank Gatorade and ate a Triberry Gu gel. I brought along a salt tab, but I dropped it out of the plastic I had wrapped it in and lost it. At the race, I'll probably take a water bottle and just carry some in the pocket without wrapping them. Sometimes simple is best!

The top photo was taken in Kona. This post describes the day before I ran in the Kona marathon, which was a humid race. I went on a hike and ate chocolate cake that day. It's good to be reminded of those types of things so that when it's time to run another marathon, you don't get too worried about every little thing like eating cake before a race. Well, at least I don't think the cake slowed me down!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Taper Time!

I'm running my 14th marathon in 13 days! I can't wait! This is taper time, but that doesn't mean I've quit working hard. I'm still working on some speed during my workouts, but I'm running fewer miles.

Friday - I ran a 16 mile ladder workout that I liked. I ran 2 easy miles and then I ran 4 hard, 1 easy, 3 hard, 1 easy, 2 hard, 1 easy, 1 hard, 1 easy. I was focused on trying to hit a good pace and that made the 16 miles feel like they went by quickly.

Saturday - I ran an easy 6 miles on Saturday with my 8 year old Weimaraner. She likes to run my warm up miles with me and to run as long as possible with me on my easy days, too. It's nice to have her company!

Monday - What a great confidence boosting run! I ran 2 easy miles. Then I ran 1 hard and 1 easy mile times 4. I finished with an easy mile for a total of 10 miles. The weather felt great and I was able to pick up the speed during those hard miles all of the way to the last hard mile.

After my run, I found out that I'm the featured Blogger of the Week at!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Deer, Then Speed

I was running close to the place where I sometimes see deer and wishing I'd see one when I looked up to see a deer looking back at me! Soon, two more showed up. That was yesterday. Today I saw deer again while I was warming up for some speed work.  

This is taper time with about 3 weeks until my next marathon. Monday I ran 10 miles with 6 miles (that were supposed to be) at 10K pace. Yesterday I ran 5 easy miles. Today I ran 8 miles with 5 x 600m (that were supposed to be) at 5K pace. I'm not hitting the paces I want, but at least I'm picking up the pace. Besides, it's fun to throw in some hard running. I hope to get in a 16 miler and another easy run before the week is up.

That would bring this week's total miles to 45. In the two previous weeks, I ran 50 miles. The week before that, I ran 55 miles. I've been loosely following the "12 weeks/55 miles or less plan" in Advanced Marathoning (first edition). Although I don't always hit the planned paces, I've been able to get in all of my planned miles. Knowing that will give me some much needed confidence during the race.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Last 20 Mile Run Before the Marathon

Waterfall Where I Run

Weather: The weather was nice and cool today! It was 45-50 degrees with a cold wind. Because it was cool, it wasn't very hard to speed up as I ran. First mile split: 9:57. Last 1.6 mile average: 8:53. Average pace (for 18.6): 9:34. 

What I wore: Skirt Sports skirt, three shirts and gloves, Experia Thorlo socks and ASICS 2170. 

Before the run, I tried a Berry Powerbar Performance bar (tastes like pink taffy candy). I prefer the cookies and cream flavor I tried last week. If it isn't convenient to have something like an English muffin topped with honey before the marathon, at least I know that I can eat one of these bars. 

During the run, I had a Tri-berry Gu gel every 4 miles and water.

After the run, I sat on the back porch with my dog and ate Sally's Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars. I added raisins, toasted walnuts and coconut. These bars are low in sugar. The only fat in them is from the peanut butter and they taste good!

Math on the run: My watch is set to stop if I slow way down. However, I stopped twice to take off my over shirts and each time I did, I manually stopped my watch and forgot to restart it, which meant I had to retrace my steps and do some fancy math in my head to figure out my total mileage. When I finished the run, my watch said I ran 18.6 miles, but if .6 times 2 plus .2 equals 1.4 and 1.4 from 20 is really 18.6, then I ran 20 miles. (That's a lot of math to do towards the end of a 20 miler!) In preparation for the marathon I'm running in about 3 weeks, my longest runs have been two 17's, an 18 and two 20 milers.

Today's Favorites:
Hearing the flapping wings of the great blue heron fly overhead.
The walker who asked, in a hopeful way, if I was almost done.
Feeling like I could run farther when I finished.

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