Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon - October 30, 2011

My two colleagues/friends (Cheryl and Linda) and I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon. One day at work last spring, I told them I was running and suggested they join me. I'm so glad they accepted, because this race was a time to remember!  We planned to stay a couple of nights to enjoy the experience!  We stayed at L'Enfant Plaza which was an easy Metro ride to the Expo, race start, and race finish - each in different locations!

Soon after checking in, we headed over to the Expo at the Armory via the Metro. Excitement, patriotism, and nervousness was in the air...along with snow! It came down like crazy the next day - in October! We only hoped it would stop in time for the race as the weathermen predicted!
Cheryl, Linda, and Me

 Saw this jacket at check-in and couldn't resist!

Our packets were somewhere in the hands of these two fine men!

Cheryl was excited for the adventure to begin!

 We saw our new mascot friend several times before the race.

A map of our trek . . . boy, that's long!

I saw the Running Skirts lady live and in person!  I visit that site so often, it was like sighting a celebrity!

Cheryl and Linda couldn't resist buying the MCM windbreakers...and either could I! However, I am a wimp when it comes to the cold - so I kept my winter coat on.  After all, it was SNOWING!

Linda and I ran for the Semper Fi Fund.  We raised money to support our nation's soldiers.  What a fitting contribution to a great race.  So, Cheryl joined us at the Pasta Party for the pre-race meal.  Then, it was time to head up to the room and try to get some shut-eye before the big day!

Although it seemed as if the day would never come, it came quickly.  We got ready and took some photos of our "game-day" running gear!  


 and Cheryl.  She ran for Diabetes!

We made our way down into the basement of L'Enfant Plaza to catch the Metro.  We arrived at our stop pretty early at the Pentagon.  Hundreds and hundreds of people huddled together inside the Metro stop as it was literally freezing outside.  We stayed in the station for as long as we could before braving the elements.  We made our way to gear check and gave up our winter coats - and we were left with our "throw-aways".

Me, Linda, and Cheryl - trying to stay warm.

These girls are much tougher than I, when it comes to the cold.  I was nearly crying, as I was so miserable waiting for the race to start.

It's almost time . . . and we're off!

Although the pics don't prove it, Cheryl and I stayed together for most of the race - up until mile 21 or so.  I hit what I think some would call "the wall" at mile 17.  Luckily, Cheryl's hubby showed up to cheer us on...and give us a banana!  For some reason, this banana was the best thing I had ever eaten and hit the spot.  It also gave me the extra boost I needed.  
Cheryl is next to me in the yellow.

This pic is proof that Cheryl and I even had fun while running this race!

At about mile 21, I went a little ahead of Cheryl.  I had to walk more than I ran the last mile or so.  During the last 1/4 mile, I started to cry and think about my dad A LOT!  I really felt he was there with me during this time.  I hadn't felt so close to him since he left us a few years ago to live in heaven.

At the end of the race, a Marine put a medal around my neck.  If this pic was a close-up, you would really notice the tears in my eyes!

Finishers must get their photos taken in front of Iwo Jima near the Finish Line!

Cheryl was shortly behind....glad I found her for a photo opportunity!

Our buddy Linda wasn't too far behind!  We celebrated our accomplishments at the Finish Line Festival for a little bit, and then hit the Metro again - back to our hotel.
That night, we all celebrate with big cheeseburgers and lots of Diet Coke!  What a day!  Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long Beach Island 18 Miler - October 8, 2011

I signed up for this race as a training run for my upcoming Marine Corps Marathon (my first full since my 2005 Disney Debacle) - to make sure I actually did at least 18 miles.  It was a scheduled 20 mile weekend, so my plan was to run 2 miles before or after the race in order to not cheat my training.  I took the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to New Jersey and drove to LBI for packet pick-up.

While there, I met my good friend, Denise, from college and spent the pre-race night at her house in Seaside.  Yes, I said Seaside - a hop, skip, and a jump from the Jersey Shore House.  You are darn tootin' that I wasn't going to pass up on this opportunity!

Snooki I am not - but I was "home".  

So, for race day we had some crazy hot weather!  I did a slow to (a mile out and a mile back) before the race start. It was in the 80's, and there was no shade, as we were at the beach.  The race was brutal, and around mile 14,  I seriously questioned my sanity.  I didn't think I was going to make it, and I didn't know how I would ever get through my upcoming marathon.  I am, embarrassingly, including race photos.  It was so freakin' hot, and I look like death!


Anyway, the after party was great, but I didn't have time to eat - I had a ferry to catch or I'd have to drive an additional 3 hours!  I was able to take a shower at the sponsoring community center (didn't realize this beforehand), and I was on my way.  Just wish I had more time to spend with my pal, Denise!

I don't think I will be coming back to this one...but I should never say never!  I can be talked in to just about any race - and it's a training run for the New York Marathon (fingers crossed.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon - September 18, 2011

Last year, my running craze started with the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half.  I had a good time at this race and wanted to return. For this race, I planned to meet up with my pal Shanonn from NJ.  I drove to her mother-in-law's house in a NJ town outside of Philly.  Her MIL drove us to the train station, and we took a train into Philly (as parking is a fortune in this city).  We stayed at the Marriott in Downtown.  

Shanonn and I spent quite a while at the Expo. Welcome!

The changing rooms...

Kara Goucher was at the Expo, signing autographs.  Although I didn't wait in line for her ink, I did snap a couple of photos.

 Then, we headed over to Reading Terminal to grab a bite to eat.  So many choices...

We chilled in our room for a while before heading out to dinner across the street at Maggiano's.  I've dined here several times, and since it was so close to our hotel - it was the perfect spot for a pre-race meal!
Maggiano's Location

I didn't get to sleep much at all the night before the race...I was hacking all night due to a sinus infection. I felt terrible for Shanonn, as I probably kept her up, too!  I loaded up on all kinds of cold meds and hoped for the best.  I ran this race the previous year, and it was hot!  For this race, we had a more brisk start for sure.  We made our way over to Eakin's Oval to get staged for the race.  We stopped at the fountains in front of the Franklin Institute for a quick photo opp!

Shortly after the gun went off, I realized I would have to run the Gallo-way. I was having some difficulty breathing due to the sinus infection. My Garmin was set incorrectly, and I had to stop several times to fiddle with it.  Shanonn and I decided to do our own things this day, so I was on my own. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with my watch - a PR was probably out of the picture. So, I just settled in and followed the intervals.

I was able to do the intervals - pretty much the whole way.  Not sure I should have run this with as much coughing as I had done the days before, but all was well.  As mentioned early, no PR's were in store for the day - but considering my health and the fiasco with my watch, I was okay with it.



I have run many races since the Zooma but have been remiss in posting.  I'm going to have to get busy getting up to date.