Monday, October 30, 2006

Marine Corps Marathon 10K

Yesterday I ran the first ever Marine Corps Marathon 10K. I had a pretty good race (especially since it was just a training run for next week) and I love the medal. The t-shirt is very nice too. The logistics of the race were crazy and I hope they improve in the future.

Logistical problems:
  • Confusion at the start: 10K runners were in the wrong place since there were no pre-race instructions for us. We were lined up on both sides of a grass median behind the marathon runners when we should have all been on one side. They told us this after the marathoners had started running so many 10K people (myself included) had to hop over a couple of guardrails to get where we needed to be.
  • All of us were facing the wrong way. We lined up ready to run in the same direction as the marathon but since the 10K runs in the opposite direction of the marathon we couldn't line up in the right spot until the marathon runners cleared the area. Loudspeakers instructed us to move beyond the red starting arch and then turn around and "face the sun". It was crazy. Nobody really undsterstood what was going on and people were wedged in like sardines and couldn't really do anything as the marines were yelling "turn to face the sun!". People on the wrong side of the timing mats so they kept telling us to back up while the loudspeaker kept reminding us the race had to start in 5 minutes (or whatever I forget) and that it couldn't be delayed. All of the confusion resulted in the slowest runners (who had been lurking at the back of the pack) being closest to the starting line and the fastest people were at the back of the pack. As an added bonus, they also thought it would be a good idea to drive a set of school busses through the pack of runners prior to the start. I have no idea why they did that.
  • The reverse of the fast/slow runners made for a pretty chaotic start as runners were dodging slow people and the fast people tried to get to the front as quickly as possible. There is an element of this in every race but it was particularly bad yesterday. I might be exaggerating since I was really worried about having a mishap and falling/twisting an ankle or something that would screw up my race next weekend but it seemed very bad.
  • Midway through the 10K the wheelchair marathon racers came up on the runners and this caused a huge problem! The 10K folks were totally in their way and were, unfortunately, very oblivious despite the screams of "ON YOUR LEFT" and "WHEELCHAIRS COMING" that were coming from the runners, the wheelchair athletes, and a bunch of marines.
  • The race started late enough that there were still pretty many slow 10K people out on the course as the marathon winner came into the finishers chute. I don't think that was supposed to happen.

My time & splits:

Total: 1:07:50

M1: 10:53

M2: 10:51

M3: 10:32

M4: 11:24 (wheelchairs arrived and I stopped to walk and yell at people to get out of their way)


M6.2: 13:26

I had time to finish my race, eat some food and then head over to mile 16 to catch up with Brian and my sister who were running the marathon.

More later...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bib Number: 45600

I finally got my start color: ORANGE

And my bib number: 45600

I really can't wait for the marathon. It's just 10 days away. I'm obsessing about the weather (still looks good as of last night) and I'm glad I have MCM this weekend to distract me a little bit.

I haven't posted much lately and I have no excuse for it. My running has been spotty but good when I actually get it done.

Three weeks ago I did 20 miles and felt great during and afterwards. Two weeks ago I was hoping to get in an 18 mile run but wasn't motivated at all on Saturday and only did 10. In a fit of guilt I ran another 7 on Sunday, so the weekend wasn't a total loss, but it wasn't a good long run.

Last Saturday I set out to run 10 miles with my running group, who were all doing 20 in prep for the Philadelphia marathon, I wound up running 14 instead to keep my buddy of the day company during her tough last few miles.

No running since then. My legs have felt great and I think I'll do fine in New York.

I'm not looking to break any records but I want to feel good and not struggle through the race. I think I can do that and maybe break 5:15 too. Who knows? I just want to have fun.

I'm leaning towards running the 10K at MCM this weekend but I think that's going to be a game day final decision.

Now I have to go check the weather forecasts.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hey, isn't this blog about running?

Whew! I just got back from my 20 mile run today and now I have my feet up and I'm drinking a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I even got the whipped cream this time. It's a suitable reward for a pretty good day.

I could have run a marathon today. I'm glad I didn't have to but I certainly could have.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chatty Vacationers

I noticed that lots of people were chatty out in Yosemite. I don't know if it was because people are more friendly or because I was wearing more interesting clothes...
  • A guy noticed my t-shirt said Wyeth on the back (they were a big sponsor of Collegeville 5K) and started asking me if I was a drug rep for them because he and his wife were both retired pharmacists.
  • A guy stopped to talk to me in the store when he noticed my Broad Street Run t-shirt. Evidently, he grew up in Media and had run the race a bunch of times before moving to the west.
  • A guy commented to Brian about his Disney 1/2 marathon t-shirt saying he did the race the same year (although upon further reflection that guy was kind of an oddball and I think he just made it up)
  • A lady struck up a conversation in line at the store because she noticed my NYC Marathon hat. She's never done a marathon but it's thinking about taking up triathlon training.
  • A lady started talking to us in the cappuccino line and told us that McDonald's premium coffee marketing scheme was just that - a scheme. Same coffee, new cups and ad campaign. Further converstation involving the new style WaWa cups revealed the fact that she was from Delaware.
  • A park employee commented on how cool my ugly spotted LL Bean fleece is.
  • Two little girls on a class trip asked me about a million questions while I was riding the bus with them. Questions varied from where had I hiked that day (Half Dome) to how many states have I been in (too many to count on the bus ride) and what color is the liberty bell.

Yosemite Trip Day 2: the Valley

We spent our second real day of vacation exploring Yosemite Valley. This means that we went to the visitor center, checked out the Indian village and a cool museum of Native American baskets and clothing (interesting how they use the term Native American for the museum/artifacts but stuck with Indian for the village. I wonder why that is?).

We also walked along a lot of the paths through the meadows and along the edge of the Valley and just marveled at Half Dome. It's hard to do anything while you're there but look up at Half Dome. It's so big and so unusual that you just stare at it. The picture I have posted I just found on the internet -- I'll replace it with one of ours when I get a chance. That's one of the most popular views of the mountain and it looked a lot like that on our trip -- but there was no snow on Half Dome during our trip.
Later we explored the area called Happy Isles where there had been a huge (scary) rockfall in 1997 and then took a walk up to a place called Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake isn't a lake anymore (the park people used to dredge the pool but they stopped doing it in 1970 so now it's almost totally gone) but a giant sandbox at the base of Half Dome. You can stand there and let yourself feel like a tiny ant as you look up the face. We didn't see any climbers on the rock but evidently people do climb up. They're nuts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yosemite Trip, Day 1: Wawona + Mariposa Grove

We arrived in San Francisco around noon on Saturday and drove to Yosemite that afternoon. We chose to take the long way and enter the park via the South entrance near Wawona because we had a room at the 'historic Wawona hotel' for our first night.

We thought this was a good plan because we'd be in the park ready to go on Sunday morning instead of having two travel days. It really was a pretty good plan except for the fact that we were up at 4:30 AM in order to get to the airport on time and driving the 4+ hours from San Francisco to the park was rough. Especially towards the end when it was dark and the roads were scary and twisty. Thank God Brian was driving!

We fell into bed at about 9:00 and slept with the windows open to let in the very chilly mountain air. The chilly mountain air was even chillier in the moring when we got up and I actually got to wear my convertable mountain pants on the very first day of the trip!

We headed to the Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoia trees after exploring at the cute Wawona hotel and visitor center. If you haven't seen a giant sequoia in person I can't explain to you how incredibly massive and cool they are. They're just mind bogglingly huge. And very cool. This was a nice easy way for us to ease into the park because the trails were gentle and mostly short. It flashed us back to our trip to Sequoia National Park five years ago and since we had such a great time on that trip it really put us into a good mood.

The most memorable thing about this day was a strange encouter with a crab working at the Wawona store. I ran in there in the afternoon to get some sodas and pretzels before we made the drive up to Yosemite Valley. I went into the store and picked up two 20 oz Cokes and a bag of Rold Gold pretzels. The total bill came to $5.07

I pulled my money from my pocket and see that I have a $5 bill and a $20 bill. I said out loud "oh rats" when I looked at my money and I hand the check-out guy the $20 bill.

He does not take the money but instead looks at me and says again that the total is $5.07. I don't reply, still holding out the $20.

"Do you have .07 cents?" he asks in a disgusted tone.

Just for the record, I was wearing hiking clothes (t-shirt and shorts) and was covered in dirt so I clearly didn't have a purse or anything with me.

I hold out my money clip with the $5 bill in one hand and the $20 in the other hand and say out loud "I have a 5 and a 20".

He then lets out a power sigh and says "well, maybe I can find .07 here". And he starts rooting around in some unseen penny jar behind the counter. He doesn't come up with the money -- gives me a dirty look -- and says "I'll check my pocket". And then he roots around in his own pocket to find the .07 cents.

Then he says "Give me the $5" like he's doing me a huge favor.

So I did and left with my food.

It was totally bizarre and extremely off putting. Am I crazy for thinking he was a big jerk? I mean I tried to pay for the stuff -- I had the money to pay for the stuff -- he was just unwilling to accept my $20. That's not a ridiculous bill to be using, it's not like I was trying to pay with a $100 or something crazy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I stink at running!

I went to the park to run last night and it was AWFUL! I don't know if it was taking all that time off from running (nearly two weeks!) or if it was all the extra miles I put in hiking at Yosemite (probably 70+ miles over the week) but I felt pretty terrible running the loop.

Too many walk breaks, a totally inconsistent pace, sore knees on the downhill (this I know is TOTALLY from the Half-Dome hike) plus I had shin pain. I never have shin pain. It wore off so I'm sure it was from starting too fast. Blah. Just an awful run. The only good thing was that I got this bad run out of my system so I hope it will all be out of my system by the 20 miler this weekend.

I'm hoping to get back to the park tonight but I don't know if the work schedule will allow it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm back! Vacation was great

We had a really good time at Yosemite and I'll post pictures and comments about the trip soon.

My fears about not getting in a 20 mile run were eased by our trip up to Half Dome. Whew! What an incredible ordeal! Somewhere between 14-17 miles, ascending (and then decending) 4,900 feet up to the top at 8800 was pretty intense. The first half of this hike was by far the hardest thing I've ever done and I didn't even make it to the top! (Brian did though!)
If you check out this snazzy picture that I snitched from The California Hiking Page you can follow the red line and see the route of the very end of the hike. I made it to the point where the red line stops zig zagging and Brian kept going up to the very top. He, and everybody else who does this hike (and there are tons of people who do it) is crazy.