Boston Strong & Other Stuff

I can’t post today and not at least mention the events that took place one year ago. 

Simply put my thoughts are with all those that were there (injured or not, present when the bombs went off or not…it’s still a footnote to the marathon experience regardless of finishing/not finishing etc), with all those (runners, volunteers, spectators, anyone in Boston that day) that are recovering from physical/mental/emotional injuries, and with the families that lost loved ones. 

It’s what I’ll be thinking about during my run this evening.

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Just a note – I changes the name of my Instagram account so that it ties in with the blog, and takes my personal name off the account.  The old link won’t work, but all the old pictures are there since it’s the same account, just with a new name.  You can follow brokentequila (me!) on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/brokentequila the link is also to the Right.

I have been reading so many blogger safety posts lately and #1 tip is that all the social media accounts tied to the blog should be the blog name, not your personal name, so I decided to make the change.

P.S. – No I have not had any issues/scares…just following sound advice.

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Over the weekend Michelle and I had the pleasure of staying at the Fort Casey Inn on Whidbey Island.  Originally built as officer housing prior to the Civil War (according to the plaque in our cabin) or the First World War (according to the website), so I don’t know which it is, but leaning towards the Civil War based on the decor etc.  Regardless is was the most cost effective lodging we could find on the Island that was close to the start/finish line. 

I had no idea what we were in store for since the confirmation email made it clear it was pretty basic with power, but no other outside contact (TV, Radio, WiFi).  Sounded great to me because I love nothing more than a good book for hours on end, but turns out they have upgraded a bit and there was WiFi, and the alarm clocks in the rooms had AM/FM. 

It was all pretty basic, but fully functioning with electric heat, microwave in the kitchen along with all the other “normal” kitchen stuff.  And the view was amazing! 

The sunrise from Michelle’s room.  Photo Credit – Michelle
 The main room…we ended up doing a puzzle on the floor with the fire going.  Photo Credit – Michelle
 My room…the bed’s were really firm!

 Love the claw-foot bathtub…we didn’t use it, but it was still a cool feature. 

Michelle’s Room.
Aside from the firm beds and really old plumbing (lets be honest it could hardly handle two runners pre-race) it was a charming and very quiet place to stay.  It would actually be fun to go back with the families and make use of the hiking trails, and bring our discovery passes along so we can explore the parks near the Inn.  I would totally stay there again!  
A few more non-race pics from the weekend…
 I thought it was funny my GPS had the car driving on the water.

 Liquid carb loading at lunch the day before.  First time I have every had a drink (had a glass of wine with dinner later that night as well, along with lot’s of water all day long) the day before a race, and you know what I couldn’t tell a difference.

 We visited the start line the day before to scope out parking and make sure we knew where to go.   Nice little beach next to the festivities.

 This was a random little park we found and it ended up being a nice little spot to spread a blanket and read for a while before heading off to dinner.  Very relaxing! 
 Enjoying the sun, breeze and views!  Photo Credit – Michelle

I have to say I feel pretty great today!  I usually don’t run with the group Tuesday Night after running a half, but I am tonight, because I feel that good, and like I’m ready to run again.  If this is what 39 feels like then I’m going to have a very good year!  😉

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Anyone else drink beer, wine, other alcohol before a race?  

I usually don’t drink any alcohol 5 to 7 days leading up to a race, but I didn’t do that this time around.  I had wine with dinners during the week and the beer and wine the day before.  But, I also made an effort to drink a ton of water too.  I felt the best I ever have for a race this time around, so who knows if drinking or not makes a huge difference.  There are a lot of other factors that go into how you feel race day.   

 

Whidbey Island Half Re-Cap

Let’s get the details out of the way…we did it!  Finished in 2:23:xx which was faster than I anticipated.  Not the fastest Half Michelle and I have run together, but not the slowest either. 

Pre-Race…killing time before the start.  Half Fanatics in the house!!!!!  (runners have the best legs…yep just gave myself and Michelle props)!

Michelle got it together for this race with only 3 weeks notice, and very little mileage on her legs.  I know miles 10 – 13.34 (it’s a long course!) were challenging, but she stuck with it and got it done.  I tell you those last miles were the hardest as far as the course goes.  Hills, out and back, running past the finish line and hearing finishers being announced as you run past…yep it was hard, really hard. 
While I had the advantage of 10 weeks of training, and felt pretty great physically (mentally was not loving running past the finish for an out and back)…I knew it was getting harder and harder for Michelle, but she hung in there and got it done.  I’m so proud of her, total gut check time and she did it!  I don’t say (type) that with surprise at all…I knew she could do it, but I knew it would be hard so I’m extra, extra proud of her!  
I almost don’t even know how to review this one because it was such a great experience.  Fair warning this Half, with perfect weather (and maybe even without perfect weather), is going to make you want to run a full.  Just be ready to come home and register for a full marathon after this!  (And, no I did not register for a full, nor do I plan on doing so…that hasn’t changed for me).
The Pros:
-The Weather – So I know this was totally a chance thing, the organizers have zero control over the weather.  I suspect that had this been a windy/rainy day it would have been much less pleasant and a very, very different experience for us.  It was sunny, but no too hot.  I actually had a long sleeve shirt on before the start to keep warm, but ditched it right before we crossed the timing mat.  Michelle didn’t, and while she had goose bumps she wasn’t too cold as long as we stayed in the sun.  There were a few times it felt like the sun was beating down on us due to the lack of shade, but just as it would start to border on too much we would hit a wooded section and have shade to cool things off. 
-Bathrooms – There were the park bathrooms as well as plenty of port o potties.  We waited in lines of 3 to 4 people tops which is pretty good in my book!
Aid Stations – Perfectly spaced!  Not only did they start early (mile 2…the advantage of there being a 5K and 10K) they were spaced about every 3 miles after that.  The two stations that offered GU were perfectly spaced, and the last aid station that offered GU was the out and back section, so you hit it going and coming back which was really nice. 
-Packet Pick-Up/Expo – Very well organized.  Big enough to be interesting, but not so large that it was overwhelming (that’s what she said…bahahaha…sorry Mark has totally warped my sense of humor!).  We were in and out super easy.  Didn’t even have to wait in line to get our packets/shirts.  
-Communication – It was amazing.  There were several (but not too many) emails the weeks leading up to the race, with all the information/details I wanted, needed, and felt anxious about.  This was easily the calmest I felt going into a race because everything was spelled out clearly.  Being an out of towner, since it’s an island I’m guessing most of the runners are out of town, the organizers addressed all the unknowns for those that were traveling, and that really helped me feel like we were in good hands.  
 Running this stretch I totally mentally checked out.  It was long and straight (the kind of running I don’t like at all) but the view totally sucked me in and made it fly by.

-Route- Well what can I say about this.  It was amazing!  From the vibrant green farm lands/fields to the ocean views, and the mountain peaks it was simple breathtaking.  The views made up for the complaints I have.   More importantly the views made it seem almost easy.  I enjoyed (almost) every step because it was so beautiful. 
 The above view is what is behind us in the below in-race selfie.   Selfie Photo Credit – Michelle!
About half way give or take a mile or two…I forget exactly.
-Shirts/Medals/Goodie Bag – So I don’t have a pic of the tech shirt, but it’s bad a$$!  I love the shirt, but sadly it looks horrific on me, so I gave mine to Michelle.  Why don’t they ever run true to size (or look good on girls with bigger chests?)  Anyway, the medals are awesome (too lazy to take a close up) totally fitting it had a Bald Eagle on it since we saw them every time we looked up!  I love that the goodie bags had full size product in them, very well done!
Cons:
-The Roads – They were totally slanted.  Every single one of them were very slanted and it was really hard to find anything somewhat flat to run on.  The first 10 miles were slanted (for the most part) to the left and let me tell you my knee and hip were feeling it.  We both kept swerving around trying to find anything flatish to run on.  There was one trail through a park that was flat and a gravel path that was flat, but that maybe made 1 mile total of flat running. The last 3+ miles were slanted to the right, which was a bit of relief but by that point still not helpful. 
-It’s over 13.1 – In fact the website says it’s 13.34, but if you run a perfect tangent it’s 13.1.  Umm…the only runners that have a chance of running a perfect tangent are the leaders.  The rest of us are left running what is a very long Half!  
-The Last 3 miles – They are already the hardest part of a Half right?  So why, why, why make us run past the finish line, hearing all the celebration etc to head out on an absolutely miserable out and back?  It’s the hilliest part of the course and just felt like it took forever.  It’s a mental game at that point…every step out you know you have to repeat…but adding in the hills was just rough.  (Overall still one of the “easiest” courses I’ve run though…so it’s all relative).  
 Still amazing views the last 3 miles!
-Food Tent – Seriously the line to get in to the food tent was stupid long.  So long in fact that even though I needed food we skipped it and opted to get on the ferry and eat on the mainland.  There has to be a better way to handle that aspect.
-Full Marathon Leaders – This is more a complaint on their behalf because it didn’t have a negative impact on me at all.  But, I will say at the point (based on when they start and when the Half starts and average pace of winners etc) that the leaders catch us is tight.  I know the organizers have no control over what pace anyone runs, but there are some serious pinch points, and some stretches of what should be single track (just like girls who can’t pee alone some can’t run alone either…for the record Michelle and I run single file when we need to/when the course calls for it), the leaders were struggling to weave in and out (the motorcycle leading the full should have been in front of the leader honking, not behind him!) and barking at runners, most of who have both earphones in, that they were trying to pass.  The leaders caught us at their mile 23, so I’m guessing having to yell at people to move over was energy they would rather have not had to exert.  The only upside is it was really inspiring/exciting to see them fly by, those guys were hauling some serious a$$!
We did it!
All in all I would highly, highly recommend this race!  If you ever have a chance to run Whidbey Island Half do it (can’t speak to the full, but have heard it’s bad a$$ in a good way as well)!  I would/will totally do it again!  Despite the few cons it’s still a very unique experience that is totally worth it, and one of the most enjoyable courses to run (even though it’s long)!    
Nicely done Whidbey Island! 
I’ll share more in the next day or two about lodging/experience on the island and how I felt/am feeling post race.  For now this post is long enough and I’m still pretty worn out despite 10 hours of sleep last night.  
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Who else had a race/run this weekend?  Tel me about it! 
 
 
 

Ready to Run!

I finally feel ready for Sunday’s race.  I’m packed, my throat is still sore but not getting worse, and my shoulder and hip are pain free!  Woo Hoo!  

A big Thank You to my Dad for driving 4’ish hours to work on my shoulder and hip and then turning around and driving 4’ish hours back home. 

He did get a little play time in with Sky before making the drive back home.

So I’m doing a few things different this race…I’m running naked and I’m taking pictures!  By naked I mean no GPS watch.  Totally going to run based on feel and how many irresistible photo ops there are along the way.  

It’s all part of the plan to run for fun, enjoy the weather and the island, and make sure Michelle has fun as well.  She’s coming into this with 3 weeks of prep and a bit of a sore back, so I’m ditching the watch (and in turn the obsession with pace/numbers) and plan to kill my phone battery taking pics!  I know that “real” runners look down on the photo taking runners, but I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks.  We will make sure to step out of the way so we don’t slow anyone down or trip anyone.   

I’m really looking forward to running in a new area and this is our first as Half Fanatics!  It’s going to be fun, and a great way to kick off the summer run schedule!

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Anyone else run/race naked?
No, I don’t remember the last time I did that.  I have mixed feeling about it which is probably why I should do it more.   It’s not always about the numbers.

In race photo taking yes or no?
I don’t care one way or the other.  This is the first race I’ve gone into with the intent to take pics.  Usually I have a goal of some sort that does not lend itself to photos.  I’m kinda looking forward to it though! 

 

Change in Plans For Whidbey Island

Before I update you all on the Whidbey Island situation I have to share this pic of Sky!  It has nothing to do with Whidbey Island, but I wanted to share a cute fun pic before sharing some sad news/doing a post without a pic (I’m ok/still running). 

Cake before bedtime…awesome plan!
She asked to watch Super Why yesterday and it was all about how to bake a cake.  So of course she started asking, as nice as can be with please and thank you tossed in, if she could have some cake.  Since I had a run at 6pm, Mark and Sky decided to have a cake date.  Thankfully I got home in time to watch her enjoy it!  Also, thankfully she was only up 30 extra minutes until the sugar crash hit and she went to bed just fine!  
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On to Whidbey…this is a little bit hard for me and makes me sad.  I debated on even sharing what happened on the blog, but figured those that have been reading long enough are going to notice the change in running partner and wonder what the heck is up. 

Sadly Elya will not be able to run Whidbey Island this year.  She was enjoying her son’s birthday party Sunday and in the process ended up badly breaking her ankle.  She had surgery last night and had a bunch of hardware installed to repair ligament damage and the break itself.  I got a text from her around 9pm letting me know she was home and doing ok.

While I’m sad, and still can’t really believe this happened I know it must be a million times harder for her than me emotionally.  And yet, as always, Elya is handling this with so much grace and faith.  She has every right to be angry, sad, stressed etc. and yet somehow she is able to remain upbeat, positive, and is planning which finish lines she can cheer from until she is back to running again.

 We’ll get back to this Elya!

To say I’ll miss my Elya running time is an understatement.  I just got my running time with her back after her pregnancy/birth, and now to go without again just makes me sad.  Of course there will be play dates at her place, coffee, and yummy food so I still get some time with my friend.  But, there is something different about running with a friend.  It brings out something more in a friendship, makes it richer and fuller.  I’m counting down the days until we can start walking at the park, and eventually get back to running together! 

What to do with a registration that can’t be deferred?  Thankfully Elya was willing to let someone else run in her place, and Michelle was willing to get 1/2 ready in 3 weeks!  I am truly blessed with amazing friends in my running life (and my non running life as well!).  While I could have always opted to run alone (and would have if I couldn’t find anyone to run in Elya’s place/they had let her defer) I went into this one as a social/fun run.  I have serious solo races coming up and wanted this one to be a fun/relaxing half to start my season.  I’m thankful that I get to run it with a friend still.

So, the plan is we ran 5 miles last night, are running 10 (the easiest most flat 10 miles I could come up with) Saturday morning and we’ll see how Michelle feels.  I follow a training plan that has the long run at 12 miles, but I hold onto the thought that if a person can run 10, they can run 13.1.  We just need to get some miles on her legs, and then a quick taper for me.  I’m actually adjusting my run’s during the week so that I’m sticking to the weekly taper miles even though I’m doing longer runs on the weekend than the taper calls for.

The other plan is I keep hearing how amazingly beautiful this course is and there are great views, so if we need/want to we are going to stop and take pictures and just enjoy a nice, easy (being a relative term…it’s still a half!) 13.1.  🙂 

Please send well wishes/thought’s Elya’s way.  She’s got some pain and recovery to get through with 4 kiddo’s (one of them being a NB) at home.  She has an amazing husband and support system, but still it won’t be easy. 

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Best injury recovery advice? 

   

Running Excitment

Had another awesome run today!  It was supposed to be a nice easy slow, post long run, pace.  But, the pace that felt good was faster than normal.  Every time I tired to slow it down I felt terrible so I just kept going at what felt good. 

4 miles and it felt so easy!
 
I have been conducting an experiment with my Boost shoes.  Running without any blister prevention, no spray/powder/band aids.  Unheard of!  My findings so far…zero hot spots or blister issues.  Granted I haven’t done more than 5 miles, but in my other shoes the hot spots start up on 3 mile runs.  I’m not willing to test it on a super long run until after the 1/2…just too close to race day to risk it.  But, I can’t wait to do a 10 miler without all the blister prevention time suck pre-run! 
 
That’s great news because that means there is a shoe that is perfect for me!!!  It’s not great because they are the most expensive shoes possible.  Of course I have expensive taste.  At least I’m not running full marathons, so I’m not adding miles to them as fast as I could be. 
 
Speaking of expensive have you seen the new Garmin 620?! 
 

Check out what this watch can do!!! CLICK HERE

It’s the next best thing to having your own personal running coach. Forerunner 620 offers advanced features like recovery advisor, race predictor and VO2 max estimate to help you train smarter and achieve new race goals. When used with the HRM-Run monitor¹, the 620 also provides feedback on running form by showing your cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation. For indoor training, the 620’s built-in accelerometer tracks distance, so you don’t need a separate foot pod.

I’m not going to lie, even though my watch is only a year old, I want the 620 bad.  I love that it tracks your cadence, ground contact time, tells you when you should take a rest day, and offers training plans.  All the benefits of a coach without someone telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.  I don’t like being told what to do at all.  I know what I need to do, but love the idea of having a watch that gives me prods while running!  It’s got a hefty price tag though.  $450 with the monitor.  YIKES!  I’m hopeful that by the time I save my money over the next few years that the price will have come down a bit.  Might be able to get a used one by then too, or get a job with Garmin.  😉  (No that’s not a hint that I have anything in the works, just wishful thinking for the future.  I have a very short target list of jobs/companies and they all have to do with running or coffee!) 

Something I can afford though, thank you Dad, is new cold weather running tights!  They should be here any day and will post a picture as soon as I have them.  You can check theme out HERE in the mean time.  I also know what long sleeve top I’m getting on discount at Diva night Thursday, so will post pics of the whole outfit! 

I can also afford, again Thank You Dad, some race registrations.  Especially when I get the early bird screaming deals!!!  St. Paddy’s Day 5K for $17 and the Whidbey Island Half Marathon for $29!!  Holy cow you can’t run 1/2’s around here for that price!  It’s the 13th anniversary though so they rolled back the price to the price 13 years ago.  Elya and I jumped on that!  Since it’s near my birthday Mark was on board for us affording the lodging as my birthday gift and making it a family trip with Elya and her family!  I’m hoping we can find a house or cabin to split with them.  I’m sure the options are limited on the island so we had better get on that pronto!

I now have races on the books for March, April, and May!!!  Just a few weeks ago I was sad because I had no idea what my 2014 race life would look like, and now it’s starting to take shape! 

Something else I’m excited about…

  
…Sky, just wanting to hang out in bed and giggle.  She loves to lay on our bed, and sometimes she wants to be left alone, but more often than not she wants company.  We have great conversations and lot’s of cuddles.  Even when she is having a bad day, and is hitting/biting/crying about everything deep down I know she has a heart full of love and all she really wants is my/our full attention, and to know we love her back.  Love this little girl so much! 

What races do you have on the books for 2014?

What running gear are you craving?